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An Educator’s Guide to COPPA: Connecting Students to the Internet


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An Educator’s Guide to COPPA: Connecting Students to the Internet

Tom Murray, State and District Digital Learning Director, Alliance for Excellent Education
Mark Cheramie Walz, Attorney, Pennsylvania Education Law Firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz, and Williams

On October 29, 2014 the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted a webinar in its Project 24 leadership series. Project 24 is a systemic planning framework around the effective use of technology and digital learning to achieve the goal of college and career readiness for all students. This webinar focused on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1998 to protect the online privacy of children.

More than fifteen years later, as digital learning constitutes a critical component of education both in and out of school, COPPA has become yet another hurdle between teachers and connecting students to digital learning opportunities. The webinar explored what educators need to know about this law, and how they and school administrators can successfully navigate COPPA to ensure that students are afforded the full benefits of online and blended learning opportunities.  It showed how teachers can provide consent for students to register for online websites.  It explored whether or not students who are under thirteen years old can even use Web 2.0 resources without running afoul of the law.  And it dealt with how school districts assume the duty of COPPA compliance.

During the webinar, Mark Cheramie Walz gave educators straight-forward answers on how to comply with COPPA without sacrificing the potential that digital learning and online resources afford. Tom Murray from the Alliance moderated the discussion. Mr. Cheramie Walz and Mr. Murray also addressed questions submitted by webinar viewers from across the country.

Mark Cheramie Walz is an attorney with the Pennsylvania Education Law Firm of Sweet, Stevens, Katz, and Williams where he specializes in advising school districts on the successful implementation of technology in education. Mr. Cheramie Walz has become a trusted advisor to more than forty school districts and intermediate units across Pennsylvania on all aspects of education technology. He is a graduate of the George Washington University. He later earned both a master of public administration degree and law degree from Villanova University. Prior to his current practice, Mr. Cheramie Walz was an assistant district attorney where he specialized in the prosecution of computer crimes and received training and experience in computer and mobile phone forensics.

Categories: Data and Privacy

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