Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Wenfan Yan

Second Advisor

Francine Menashy

Third Advisor

Florian Schaub


Teachers may not always be able to pay for desirable educational technology programs for their students, but they can adopt extremely popular and valuable software and apps in their classrooms for “free.” Despite this seemingly beneficial arrangement, it can result in teachers, and by extension, students, entering complicated agreements with technology companies. Teacher misunderstanding (or ignorance) of company privacy policies may result in a company’s exploitation of its position in classrooms and access to student data. When teachers require students to sign up for educational technology (EdTech) apps, at either the district’s request or their own discretion, it is imperative to study teacher awareness of and thoughts regarding EdTech privacy policies, as well as legislation at various levels that may influence that awareness and those thoughts. To that end, I conducted a) a policy analysis of documents in the EdTech and governmental privacy policy environment in states with varying degrees of legal protection for student data, and b) a survey of teacher awareness of those documents; I then identified existing discrepancies between the two. I employed theories from the fields of psychology and information science to explain what motivates teachers to include or refuse EdTech in their classrooms. The apps studied in this research were Remind, Kahoot!, Google for Education, and Photomath. Not enough teachers used Photomath in their classrooms for statistical analysis, but the results for the other three apps show significant discrepancies between policies and teachers' understanding of those policies. This study was needed because the influence of state law on teacher policy awareness has not been documented; neither have discrepancies between how popular EdTech companies say they treat student data, and how teachers think the companies treat that data. The results of this study show which policies, and elements therein, are misunderstood by teachers, and that governmental policies must be updated in order to fully protect student data from information-hungry EdTech companies. Results also show that lack of enforcement of current legislation may be further compromising student data privacy.


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