With the rise of online learning environments, student records are no longer just basic academic and administrative information, but include data and metadata generated from student interaction with digital platforms as well as unexpected sources like student ID badges and social media. Applying big data analytics to this wealth of information has the potential to revolutionize education, but also risks unintended consequences that affect the core values of the education system as well as civil rights and liberties.
The current student privacy regulatory regime does not address the issues raised by modern information technology and data-driven decision-making in education. This presentation highlights key issues of the student privacy debate, proposed reforms, and emerging legal and ethical issues, as well as implications of data-driven education environments and decision-making that extend far beyond school settings.
Selected background readings:
- Natasha Singer: Schools Use Web Tools, and Data Is Seen at Risk; A Student-Data Collector Drops Out; ClassDojo Adopts Deletion Policy for Student Data; and Tools for Tailored Learning May Expose Students’ Personal Details.
- Elana Zeide: Parsing Student Privacy: Creating a Parent-Focused Framework for Conversation.
Elana Zeide is an attorney, consultant, and scholar focusing on student privacy, data-driven education, and algorithmic assessment and credentialing. She is a Research Fellow at New York University’s Information Law Institute, an Affiliate of the Data & Society Research Institute, and an Advisory Board member of the Future of Privacy Forum and iKeepSafe. She writes for both popular and academic publications, recently including “Algorithms Can Be Lousy Fortunetellers” on Slate, “Moving Beyond FERPA and FIPPs: Student Privacy Principles for the Age of Big Data” forthcoming in the Drexel Law Review, and “Unpacking Student Privacy” in the upcoming Handbook of Learning Analytics & Educational Data Mining.
Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.