Research Brief: Youth Perspectives on Tech in Schools

As part of its ongoing Student Privacy Initiative, led by Executive Director Urs Gasser, the Berkman Center is excited to offer a number of related publications that synthesize diverse conversations, distill next steps and key issues, and provide initial substantive resources for technologists and school officials alike:

  • Youth and Media Research Brief, Youth Perspectives on Tech in Schools: From Mobile Devices to Restrictions and Monitoring: This research brief, prepared by the Berkman Center’s Youth and Media project for the co-organized Berkman Center and Consortium for School Networking working meeting on student privacy and cloud computing, presents empirical data on student privacy attitudes drawn from a series of focus groups conducted across the country between February and August 2013.
  • Student Privacy & Cloud Computing at the District Level: Next Steps and Key Issues: This report offers recommended next steps and prioritizes open issues in the K-12 edtech space, with a special emphasis on two topics: (1) law and policy and (2) norms, values, attitudes, and practices, as well as an overarching eye to opportunities for collaboration. It builds from and reflects upon a conversation co-organized by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Student Privacy Initiative and the Consortium for School Networking. At this meeting, policymakers and educational technology thought leaders came together to emphasize the view “on the ground” as seen from the district level and identify specific resources for potential inclusion in a toolkit for diverse stakeholders considering the adoption and impact of cloud technologies in K-12 educational contexts.
  • K-12 Edtech Cloud Service Inventory: Created for and informed by a co-organized Berkman Center and Consortium for School Networking working meeting, this document aims to provide individuals with a non-technological background with a more concrete survey of the kinds of cloud computing technologies (categorized by the affordances each offers) that may be adopted in K-12 educational contexts.

You may also be interested in our previously published reports and guides, including an initial report, Student Privacy in the Cloud Computing Ecosystem: State of Play & Potential Paths Forward, and a legal analysis of COPPA and FERPA, Privacy and Children’s Data: An Overview of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

We look forward to continuing to develop additional materials in the months to come, with an eye to conducting legal analysis and producing resources for the March 2014 CoSN Annual Conference (after which an updated toolkit with materials targeted at district-level stakeholders will be made publicly available), while also engaging in ongoing collaboration, conversation, and research across both the law and policy and norms, values, attitudes, and practices clusters that have emerged from our initial gatherings.

Please contact Student Privacy Initiative Project Manager Alicia Solow-Niederman at with any questions or media inquiries.

About the Student Privacy Initiative

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Student Privacy Initiative, led by Executive Director Urs Gasser, explores the opportunities and challenges that may arise as educational institutions consider adopting cloud computing technologies. In its work across three overlapping clusters – Privacy Expectations & Attitudes, School Practices & Policies, and Law & Policy – this initiative aims to engage diverse stakeholder groups from government, educational institutions, academia, and business, among others, develop shared good practices that promote positive educational outcomes, harness technological and pedagogical innovations, and protect critical values.

Please visit for more information about the project.