Oct 112014
 October 11, 2014  Posted by  Youth & Schools

Benjamin Herold reports:

The National Science Foundation earlier this month awarded a $4.8 million grant to a coalition of prominent research universities aiming to build a massive repository for storing, sharing, and analyzing the information students generate when using digital learning tools.

The project, dubbed “LearnSphere,” highlights the continued optimism that “big” educational data might be used to dramatically transform K-12 schooling.

It also raises new questions in the highly charged debate over student-data privacy.

Read more on Education Week (reg. required).

  One Response to “Ed. Data-Mining Research Effort Wins Federal Grant, Raises Privacy Questions”

  1. From the article:

    -Chat-window dialogue sent by students participating in some online courses and tutoring programs;
    -Potentially, “affect” and biometric data, including information generated from classroom observations, computerized analysis of students’ posture, and sensors placed on students’ skin.

    I was at an interesting debate/Forum the other day and this exact topic came up, with the exact reservations expressed by EPIC.

    From what I can recall, it seems there isn’t much oversight on this. Kids are going to be profiled and categorized based on this biometric data. For example: Slow learners, fast learners, average, difficulty area’s, attention spans and whatever else they can mine, categorize, and use to profile a kid. (such as perhaps health issues and how it fits in with a child’s ability to learn, or a families wealth or environment).

    That is quite a profile of a child that will follow them for who knows how long. Shared with who knows, kept for who knows how long by all the different hands involved, and so forth.

    What controls do the parents have? The child? With whom is it shared?

    I can see some good like being able to target and work on a leaning disability, or target an area of weakness, and more. But again, that is quite the profile.

    What if this data-set is then merged with another data-set? For example, they have a different programs (posted here on pogo a few years back) collecting info on adolescents to determine how prone they are to become criminals (or something to that effect, predictive analytics).

    IMO, Good user controls and regulation is needed before just tossing this out and “sharing the data”. In effect, kids are the beta here.

    I’d let someone else’s kid be the beta while this gets sorted out.

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