When we think of children, the first thing that comes to mind is their protection; protection from known risks, protection from violence, drunk drivers, illness, and the likes of Madonna and Ashley Judd. In the age of internet-everything we want kids to be safe from exposure to pornography and child predators who spy on children without our knowledge. When we’re not with them, we want to find a place where they will be safe and we can feel comfortable they’re under the watchful eye of people who also want to protect them.
Many parents think of school as that place. We anticipate teachers are concerned for our children’s well-being, Madonna and Ashley Judd won’t be invited for career day, and there wouldn’t be porn or internet stalkers (because we know schools wouldn’t let internet stalkers spy on our kids).
What could go wrong? How about everything?
As technology has become more deeply embedded in school culture, student level data is being gathered at an accelerated rate. Tech companies are being given nearly unfettered access to student information via 1:1 devices, online resources and apps used by teachers in classrooms, digital textbooks, and the expansion of adaptive/personalized learning. Every keystroke, every search term, every bookmark, every internet site, every log-in to a standardized test, is gobbled up, chewed, and swallowed by Big Data.
The proliferation of technology in classrooms has created serious concerns about the glut of data streaming out of classrooms and into the possession of multi-billion dollar corporations. Google, which has flooded classrooms with Chromebooks, has consistently been the subject of a myriad of litigation involving abusive privacy practices such as intercepting email communications, scanning email for the purposes of targeted advertising, and collecting and data mining children’s personal preferences. A class action filed in March 2016, alleges illegal collection and use of biometric information. Hello there, creepy internet stalker!