THE WHITEHOUSE CITES 3RD QUOTE AS LEADER IN STUDENT DATA PRIVACY

Today 3rd Quote has been mentioned in a press release by The Whitehouse as one of 75 companies in the US demonstrating leadership in protecting student data privacy.

3rd Quote provides the first and only search engine that allows schools to quickly find Edtech providers who have signed the Student Privacy Pledge. Protecting student data privacy is in-line with our company’s DNA of empowerment, simplicity, giving voice, and democratizing the Edtech purchasing process in the $12B Edtech market.

For those who don’t know what 3rd Quote does, here’s the elevator pitch.  3rd Quote is the first and only online comprehensive collective of schools, providers, and tools that democratizes EdTech product discovery, research, evaluation, and purchasing into a single, secure, and simple platform in the $12B K-12 Edtech industry of 132,000 schools.

K-12 schools have a difficult time finding, researching, buying, and reviewing quality Edtech products in an efficient manner. 3rd Quote democratizes this process by providing schools with a suite of tools – designed to simplify the process – making daily tasks easier and giving voice to and empowering all stakeholders. The suite of tools include a discovery engine, an automated proposal request system, provider reviews, real-time data, a Report Card, and a Budget Planning tool.

We are super honored and excited to be named in this group of Edtech leaders and visionaries!!!

Here’s The Whitehouse PR:
**EMBARGOED FOR 6AM**

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

January 12, 2015

FACT SHEET: Safeguarding American Consumers & Families
President Obama Announces New Privacy Protections for the Digital Age

Today, President Obama will build on the steps he has taken to protect American companies, consumers, and infrastructure from cyber threats, while safeguarding privacy and civil liberties. These actions have included the President’s 2012 comprehensive blueprint for consumer privacy, the BuySecure initiative—launched last year— to safeguard Americans’ financial security, and steps the President took earlier this year by creating a working group of senior administration officials to examine issues related to big data and privacy in public services and the commercial sector.

In an increasingly interconnected world, American companies are also leaders in protecting privacy, taking unprecedented steps to invest in cybersecurity and provide customers with precise control over the privacy of their online content. But as cybersecurity threats and identity theft continue to rise, recent polls show that 9 in 10 Americans feel they have in some way lost control of their personal information — and that can lead to less interaction with technology, less innovation, and a less productive economy.

At the Federal Trade Commission offices today, President Obama will highlight measures he will discuss in the State of the Union and unveil the next steps in his comprehensive approach to enhancing consumers’ security, tackling identity theft, and improving privacy online and in the classroom. These steps include:

Improving Consumer Confidence by Tackling Identity Theft

· The Personal Data Notification & Protection Act: The President is putting forward a new legislative proposal to help bring peace of mind to the tens of millions of Americans whose personal and financial information has been compromised in a data breach. This proposal clarifies and strengthens the obligations companies have to notify customers when their personal information has been exposed, including establishing a 30-day notification requirement from the discovery of a breach, while providing companies with the certainty of a single, national standard. The proposal also criminalizes illicit overseas trade in identities.

· Identifying and Preventing Identity Theft: To give consumers access to one of the best early indicators of identity theft, as well as an opportunity to improve their credit health, JPMorganChase and Bank of America, in partnership with Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), will join the growing list of firms making credit scores available for free to their consumer card customers. USAA and State Employees’ Credit Union will also offer free credit scores to their members, and Ally Financial is further widening the community of companies taking this step by making credit scores available to their auto loan customers. Through this effort over half of all adult Americans with credit scores will now have access to this tool to help spot identity theft, through their banks, card issuers, or lenders.

Safeguarding Student Data in the Classroom and Beyond
· The Student Digital Privacy Act: The President is releasing a new legislative proposal designed to provide teachers and parents the confidence they need to enhance teaching and learning with the best technology — by ensuring that data collected in the educational context is used only for educational purposes. This bill, modeled on a landmark California statute, builds on the recommendations of the White House Big Data and Privacy review released earlier this year, would prevent companies from selling student data to third parties for purposes unrelated to the educational mission and from engaging in targeted advertising to students based on data collected in school – while still permitting important research initiatives to improve student learning outcomes, and efforts by companies to continuously improve the effectiveness of their learning technology products.

· New Commitments from the Private Sector to Help Enhance Privacy for Students: Today 75 companies have committed to the cause, signing a pledge to provide parents, teachers, and kids themselves with important protections against misuse of their data. This pledge was led by the Future of Privacy Forum and the Software & Information Industry Association, and today the President challenged other companies to follow their lead.

· New Tools from the Department of Education to Empower Educators Around the Country and Protect Students: The Department of Education and its Privacy Technical Assurance Center play a critical role in protecting American children from invasions of privacy. Today, we are announcing a forthcoming model terms of service, as well as teacher training assistance that will enhance our ability to help ensure educational data is used appropriately and in accordance with the educational mission.

Convening the Public and Private Sector to Tackle Emerging Privacy Issues
· Voluntary Code of Conduct for Smart Grid Customer Data Privacy: Today the Department of Energy and the Federal Smart Grid Task Force are releasing a new Voluntary Code of Conduct (VCC) for utilities and third parties aimed at protecting electricity customer data — including energy usage information. This Code reflects a year of expert and public consultation, including input from industry stakeholders, privacy experts, and the public. As companies begin to sign on, the VCC will help improve consumer awareness, choice and consent, and controls on access.
Promoting Innovation by Improving Consumers Confidence Online

· Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Legislation: Online interactions should be governed by clear principles — principles that look at the context in which data is collected and ensure that users’ expectations are not abused. Those were the key themes of the Administration’s 2012 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, and today the Commerce Department announced it has completed its public consultation on revised draft legislation enshrining those principles into law. Within 45 days, the Administration will release this revised legislative proposal and today we call on Congress to begin active consideration of this important issue.
These actions build on steps the President has already taken to support consumer privacy and fight identity theft, including:

· Making Federal Payments More Secure to Help Drive the Market Forward: In October, as part of his BuySecure Initiative, the President issued an Executive Order laying out a new policy to secure payments to and from the Federal government by applying chip and PIN technology to newly issued and existing government credit cards, as well as debit cards like Direct Express, and upgrading retail payment card terminals at Federal agency facilities to accept chip and PIN-enabled cards. This accompanied an effort by major companies like Home Depot, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart to roll out secure chip and PIN-compatible card terminals in stores across the country.
· New Measures to Prevent Identity Theft: The President also announced new steps by the government to assist victims of identity theft, including supporting the Federal Trade Commission in their development of a new one-stop resource for victims at IdentityTheft.gov and expanding information sharing to ensure Federal investigators’ ability to regularly report evidence of stolen financial and other information to companies whose customers are directly affected.

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3rd Quote Releases Two Firsts: Budget Planner & Report Card

We are pleased to announce two major 3rd Quote features designed to empower schools and Edtech providers: Report Card and Budget Planner.  Both tools are production-ready for school and providers. And both have planned feature enhancements over the next three weeks.

Report Card
The Report Card is the first collaborative evaluation tool available to K-12 schools in the US. It gives all school stakeholders a voice in the decision-making process of Edtech providers or solutions empowering them.  Key features include:

  • Adding Team Members (any/all stakeholders)
  • Review and Monitoring of Key Milestones
  • 8 Review Rating Categories (Sliding Scale)
  • Include Provider & 3rd Party Research
  • Commenting System (to allow private discussions)
  • Easy to Create

3rd Quote providers are able to see school created Report Cards’ summative evaluations without identifying the school or team members.

Budget Tool
The Budget Tool is another industry first for K-12 US schools. It is designed with the Director of Technology, Technology Coordinator, and/or Network Manager in mind who has to build, research, and create technology budgets many times under tight deadlines with learning at stake.  The Budget Tool can be used in varying degrees from a simple budget spreadsheet to a powerful budget planner which provides industry cost averages. Key features include:

  • Easy Access & Creation
  • Category Selection
  • Funding Source
  • Provider Identification
  • Cost

In the next 3 weeks, the Budget Tool will allow:

  • Linking to Existing Proposals & New Proposals
  • Linking to Existing Report Cards & New Proposals
  • Download Data as a CSV File & Google Drive Integration

We would love to hear your thoughts and feedback on these two revolutionary tools.

Enjoy!!

Try Googling This…

Hi Edwin – Thanks for your quick response. I am away for the next two days at a conference. Can we talk on Monday?  I am in need of some technical guidance and thought you could steer me in the right direction. Do you work with schools in NY or have someone who works in this area?  We can talk more on Monday. I can call you in the afternoon. What number should I call you at?

Great to reconnect with you again.

Take care,

Dr. Superintendent

It’s not uncommon for me to receive these kinds of emails.  Or take the phone call I received from another superintendent this past Saturday. He called about finding a provider to install cables for 8 mounted LCD projectors in his classrooms.  He had no luck, so he was calling me.

In our hyper-connected world, it’s seems unfathomable that two superintendents with doctorate degrees would have such a tough time finding the resources they need for their schools in a $7.97B Edtech market both working in and near large metropolitan areas. But it happens.

Put yourself in their shoes. Try for yourself. Google “technical guidance” or “professional development NY schools”. Try googling “LCD projectors NJ schools” or “audio visual new jersey schools”.  If you have other words/ideas, try them too.

The problem is not because of a lack of providers to install the LCD projectors or to provide professional development. It’s finding them. It’s evaluating them. It’s seeing if they really can live up to their promise. It’s about getting pricing quickly and efficiently.

These stories aren’t ones that you will see making headlines. They aren’t about cool gadgets, local school board politics, test scores, or innovative teaching techniques.  They are about the seemingly mundane. These are the “quit-your-complaining-and-just-get-it-done” stories. These daily stories fly under the radar. But they do impact lives, including students, just the same.

It’s these kinds of real Edtech purchasing events that drive us at 3rd Quote to innovate and empower.  We take these stories to heart.  And they keep us grounded.

So what results did you get from Google?

Have a great day!

THE FIRST SEARCH ENGINE TO HELP K-12 SCHOOLS PROTECT STUDENT DATA

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As the topic of K-12 student data privacy heats up among state and federal policymakers, schools, parents, and Edtech companies, 3rd Quote has launched the first free search engine in the world to help schools easily find Edtech providers committed to protecting student data by signing onto the Student Privacy Pledge known as the “Pledge.”

New discovery engine from 3rd Quote allows K-12 schools to easily find Edtech providers committed to maintaining privacy in student data.

3rd Quote Co-Founder & CEO (and former K-12 teacher) Edwin Wargo, M.Ed. notes, “3rd Quote’s DNA is all about empowerment – empowering schools and Edtech providers in the $10B Edtech market. This launch empowers schools to easily find those Edtech providers who are committed to student data privacy”.

The Pledge – spearheaded by The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) – is twelve commitments providers make around the collection, maintenance, and use of student data. U.S. Representatives Jared Polis (CO) and Luke Messer (IN) were also involved in the Pledge. Edtech leaders such as Gaggle, Follett, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Microsoft have signed onto the Pledge.  Alpesh Patel, 3rd Quote Co-Founder & COO adds, \”We’re honored to join this group of Edtech leaders and visionaries.”

Schools using 3rd Quote can find the “Pledge” Edtech Providers easily with just one additional click in the search process.  “We wanted schools to be able to find all the Edtech providers who have signed onto the ‘Pledge’ as easily as possible. We’ve achieved that.”, commented Patel.

Student data privacy is a hot-button topic across the United States. California recently enacted landmark student privacy data legislation. According to Education Week, twenty other states have passed some form of student privacy legislation and the United States Senate is considering federal legislation. “Having children in the public school system, and as a former teacher, this issue certainly resonates at home for me.”, Wargo responds.

The Pledge will make clear that school service providers are accountable to:

  • Not sell student information
  • Not behaviorally target advertising
  • Use data for authorized education purposes only
  • Not change privacy policies without notice and choice
  • Enforce strict limits on data retention
  • Support parental access to, and correction of errors in, their children’s information
  • Provide comprehensive security standards
  • Be transparent about collection and use of data

About FPF
The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) is a Washington, DC based think tank that seeks to advance responsible data practices. For more information, visit http://www.futureofprivacy.org.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 800 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. For more information, visit http://www.siia.net.

About 3rd Quote
3rd Quote – the first online marketplace for schools to buy Edtech – allows schools to easily find and review Edtech providers in the $10B US Edtech market. For more information, visit http://www.the3rdquote.com.

TECH & LEARNING GIVES 3RD QUOTE AN EXCELLENT PRODUCT RATING

From: http://www.techlearning.com/resources/0003/3rd-quote/69289

By Chris Aviles

https://the3rdquote.com ■ Retail Price: Free to schools. Free (while building the community) for providers.

3rd Quote aims to be a matchmaker for schools looking to purchase edtech. On 3rd Quote, schools can research and get price quotes for edtech, read and leave reviews of products and providers using the report card feature, and, once they’ve found the tech they want, schools can use 3rd Quote to find the provider that best fits their needs. Every step of the process, from brainstorming to ordering, can be done using 3rd Quote’s powerful Web site.

Quality and Effectiveness: 3rd Quote has thought of everything a school might need to do when thinking about purchasing edtech. I was most impressed with the “Budget” section of the site. In the budget area, stakeholders can collaborate and create an actionable list of steps to turn their edtech wish list into reality. Schools can compare providers and pricing, create budget proposals, and issue requests to providers—all while tracking the steps in the budget section’s checklist feature.

Ease of Use: 3rd Quote really shines when it comes to ease of use. The site is well made and responsive. It is clear that a lot of time went into making the site easy to navigate and a lot of thought was put into considering what schools would need to improve their purchasing experience.

Creative Use of Technology: In addition to looking great, 3rd Quote has come up with a clever way to protect schools from overzealous providers. 3rd Quote has a built-in messaging system, similar to that of Facebook, which protects a school’s privacy from providers. Schools can contact providers with questions while keeping their contact information private. All school-vendor interaction happens through this system, which makes it much more pleasant than the heavy-handed sales emails I often receive.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: I can see a school transition smoothly from the usual fractured process of purchasing edtech to the one-stop shop of 3rd Quote. I especially enjoyed the site’s features that allowed me to easily share information with my team members.

OVERALL RATING:

As the 3rd Quote user base continues to grow, it will get better and better. The site is well made, and 3rd Quote’s vision for improving the school tech-buying experience is excellent.

TOP FEATURES

• 3rd Quote has a 21st-century vision for making the edtech buying experience efficient,
informed, and effective.

• The curation of product and provider reviews in one area is easy to use and useful.

• 3rd Quote streamlines communication between schools and providers while
protecting the privacy of schools.

Smoother Sailing: Beware of edtech procurement’s sirens: four ways to navigate around them.

As published on May 27, 2015’s edition of Edtech Digest

GUEST COLUMN | by Edwin Wargo

Buying stuff. That’s what we like to do as a people. It’s our economy. Sorry baseball, Facebook, and the Kardashians. You’ve got stiff headwinds on how we like to spend our time. It makes sense why marketplaces have popped up all around us. We can find, review, and buy stuff more quickly using topical marketplaces. We also want our stuff right now. Speaking of now, Amazon, Uber, AirBNB get all the press because they have in part perfected Johnny-on-the-spot service. But there are others. Lots of others.

We need to look at the real-world trends around us and we need to look at the current state of edtech procurement.

Before the swell of marketplaces, we used Google to find stuff to buy. We’d search and search using this keyword and that keyword (thank you high school media specialists for giving me these skills!) But it was and still is laborious. The results are dependent on optimized keywords and rankings. Then folks realized we could easily use technology to play matchmaker connecting buyers and sellers.  Google has noticed this shift launching their “buy buttons” that will soon appear in search results.

Where does edtech fit into all of this? Interestingly, the marketplace concept that is making waves in many other sectors hasn’t fully reached the edtech procurement shores yet, albeit there are some docks that are promising. It’s curious on a number of seemingly disparate levels that need to be connected. As a country, we spend about $20B per year on edtech. Moreover, for our students we invest a lot of time talking about being Future Ready and 21st Century Skills. In order to connect these dots, we need to look at the real-world trends around us and we need to look at the current state of edtech procurement. Not an academic exercise, for sure, but one of real student impact.

On balance, edtech purchasing is still at sea in search of a marketplace port where schools can find and buy edtech. This has real impact. Beware, though, there are Sirens out there singing their beautiful songs. There are four buoys that are needed to steer edtech procurement into port. This global trend of marketplaces is sure to reach edtech. Let’s take a look at the Sirens and buoys. Argh, matey!

  1. Identify the EdTech Procurement Process
  2. If You Build It, They Will Come? Human Nature
  3. Seeing the Benefits
  4. Understanding the Reality

1. Do we need a map even though we can see land? Identifying the Edtech Procurement Process

We need to establish a community language around this process. Those of you in the edtech business may say, “Thanks, Captain Obvious!” It is through seeing this end-to-end process that we know the best way to model the edtech marketplace.  Without it, it is easy to look at the land far away but get hung up on a sandbar right in front of us.

As a former K-12 teacher and district tech administrator this has been the process I have observed:

  1. Discovery – Finding the right solution
  2. Vetting – Making sure it’s the best
  3. Pricing – Learning how much it will cost.
  4. Decision – Yes, no, or maybe with stakeholder input.
  5. Review – Sharing your experience with others.

The $20B question is whether technology should imitate the process or if the process can be changed using technology? We have seen the emergence of sites like Graphite, EdNak, BidNet, and Learntia that are good starts towards marketplaces but don’t yet provide the end-to-end experience for schools and providers.

I think the answer is a hybrid of both scenarios dependent upon the one constant in all of this — the human element.

2. If You Build It, Will They Come? Human Nature

We humans are an interesting species. We need not look further than our world – the world of education and technology. The change arc we embrace doesn’t always follow the available technology. Just look around. The current edtech procurement process and marketplaces are good examples of this. Adoption rates are slow.

Marketplaces are only good if buyer and seller humans actually use them. This applies to brick and mortar as well as cloud-based marketplaces.   Changing ingrained behavior that has nearly crystallized over many years is hard to do. We humans have to see the benefits of using a technology and going a different route before changing course.

3. What’s In It For Me? The Benefit

In his book Change Function, author Pip Coburn talks about technology adoption. He contends users adopt technology when the total pain of adoption is less than their current pain. In other words, if pain is high and the new technology is easy to adopt, people will use said technology.

The same can and does hold true for edtech marketplaces. The benefit has to be clear for schools and solution providers. Edtech marketplaces have to be real about their audiences.

4. Reality Element

There are two distinct parts to the reality of edtech marketplaces.  The first is a reality bubble. The second is about practice.

I think we are in the midst of an edtech bubble but not the economic kind. It’s a reality bubble. There seems to be a disconnect between what we think is happening and what isreally happening. School and district decision makers are extremely busy people, I know, I have lived it, given their wide range of responsibilities. Edtech marketplaces need to be designed with this daily reality in mind.

For example, the discovery process has to be made easier. It should allow a busy tech coordinator or principal to find a solution using their language and thought processes. Having another flat directory that provides some reviews doesn’t match the reality.

Here’s a real example. There are great tools that sync student information systems with a school’s Active Directory. Try that in a Google search? And for a busy administrator- that may not know such a thing exists – it’s hard to simply articulate.

We collectively spend a lot of time talking about 21st century and preparing students for the future. There are a lot of great educators doing great things. Here’s the irony: The very tools that we are leveraging to make students ready for the world are found in such archaic methods. We just need to look at how we are buying stuff outside of school.

As long as buyers are buying and sellers have stuff to sell, marketplaces are here to stay in the world around us.  As schools and their providers dip their toes in the water of edtech marketplaces, we need to step outside our bubbles, considering the Sirens out there, which can delay the true benefit of them. We need to dive in the water leading with the reality in schools and humanity. Otherwise, it will be like a cannonball – a lot of splash but no grace.

Edwin Wargo is CEO and co-founder of 3rd Quote. He is a former K-12 teacher with a Masters in School Leadership who has held district and school technology coordinator positions. Write to edwin@the3rdquote.com or follow him @edwinjwargo with any comments or questions.