Like many privacy-minded parents of elementary students, Tony Porterfield tries to keep close tabs on the personal information collected about his two sons. So when he heard that their school district in Los Altos, Calif., had adopted Edmodo, an online learning network connecting more than 20 million teachers and students around the world, he decided to check out the program.
Edmodo’s free software allows teachers to set up virtual classrooms where they can post homework assignments, give quizzes and use third-party apps to complement lessons. Students can create individual profiles, including their photograph and other details, within their teacher’s class and post comments to a communal class feed.
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Central Texas policies
How some area school districts deal with online learning networks, according their spokespersons:
Austin: Use of an online learning network varies depending on campus and teacher.
Pflugerville: Teachers and students use the network Edmodo, which uses Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption. Students enter the district’s Edmodo domain only through a teacher’s group, using the code provided by their teacher and their first name. Students cannot make independent accounts, and teachers can provide the parents of each child with a code so they can view their child’s submissions or help them submit work.
Eanes: Teachers and students use networks with SSL encryption for authentication and access, such as Ebackpack and Google Apps for Education.
Hays: Teachers and students use Edgenuity networks, which use SSL encryption. Student data is stored on Microsoft servers with no direct connection to the Internet.
Leander: Teachers and students primarily use Google Apps for Education, which has SSL encryption. The district is exploring use of other services, including Edmodo, which also has SSL.
Dripping Springs: No particular program is broadly used, though some teachers use the state-provided Project Share and others use Edmodo.
Hutto: Does not use online learning sites, only sites hosted by the district that use the district’s security and encryption.