Educators need convenient digital lockers to stash student projects and teacher work, but protecting student data privacy is a growing concern. With rampant data mining, surveillance, and third party sharing of sensitive data by commercial cloud and application providers, teachers must dodge a ghastly spitball of tangled student privacy issues.
A win-win for schools is ownCloud, an open source file sharing server that helps schools take back control of their data. Files are available via sync clients for nearly all major operating systems, as well as a web interface. ownCloud also includes a browser-based collaborative document editing tool, similar to Etherpad and Google Docs, which may be used to privately share documents between classmates and colleagues.
At Penn Manor School District, ownCloud Community Edition and GlusterFS delivers highly available on-premise cloud storage and synch services for over 500 teachers and staff across 10 school buildings. However, students and teachers could setup a classroom ownCloud server using a RaspberryPi. Wouldn’t THAT be a cool back to school project?