We are incredibly trusting with our data. For better or for worse, we have to be in order to search, shop, share and so forth online. It's important to ask, of course, what a company does with your data (is it shared with advertisers, for example). But it's also important to ask whether or not you can actually get your data out. It's your data after all. The best data privacy policies mean little if you're stuck using a service or application simply because there's no way to export your information and take it elsewhere.
Lack of data portability is a real problem in education technology as that vendor lock-in traps a lot of schools and teachers with less-than-satisfactory programs.
The irony here, of course, is that it's often the great products that are user-oriented enough to add data download options. Case in point: the online gradebook LearnBoost which has just added a new feature today to make it easier for users to export their data. The new feature, called Backup lets you download all the data that you've ever posted to LearnBoost -- grades, attendance, events, policies, and profile information.
When you opt to download your LearnBoost data, you'll get an email notification that will prompt you to login to your account to authenticate your identity. Then you'll get a ZIP file containing HTML files of your data, meaning you'll be able to read the information using any browser.
LearnBoost says its move is in the spirit of Google's Data Liberation project. It's a smart move, and one I'd definitely like to see more ed-tech companies make.