January 17, 2022

Privacy Concerns May Hinder Use of Big Data in Education

From the Wall St. Journal:

Steven Ross, a professor at the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, says using data to help tailor education to individuals will drive learning in the future. “Most of us in research and education policy think that for today’s and tomorrow’s generation of kids, it’s probably the only way,” he says.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block to using data in schools isn’t technological, though. Rather, it’s the fear that doing so will invade the privacy of students. Parents worry, for example, that details of a child’s early struggles with reading could hurt them with future employers—or with schoolyard bullies.

“It’s really invasive,” says Lisa Shaw, a parent in the New York City public school system. “There’s no amount of monetary funds that could replace personal information that could be used to hurt or harm children in the future.”


Protests about data privacy have partly derailed one ambitious project, inBloom, a nonprofit with $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the nonprofit Carnegie Corporation of New York. InBloom wants to link education-tech companies with school districts—serving as a type of middleman for student data. Its system gives schools the option of uploading hundreds of characteristics about students, including disabilities such as autism or vision problems. Five states initially said they would work with inBloom. That number is down to three: New York, Illinois and Massachusetts.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Google Admits to Data-Mining Student Emails (March 19, 2014)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.