Editor’s Note: Much Ado About Privacy - Tech Learning

Editor’s Note: Much Ado About Privacy

Protecting student data has quickly become the edtechcause celebre of 2014.
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Protecting student data has quickly become the edtech cause celebre of 2014. The Gates-funded data warehouse inBloom was battered into submission last month. Google faces harsh criticism of crossing the “creepy line”—scanning student content using Google Ed apps that ultimately creates targeted advertising profiles. Legislation in several states is being considered and passed that contains breathless language about protecting our children’s futures via their zeros and ones.

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I’m not buying it. Of course data security is important, which is why we have the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). And while I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, I have yet to read an actual instance where the theft of Johnny’s or Mary’s second grade math scores led to his or her ultimate demise. The politics of teacher assessment and the Common Core muddy this issue further so that Randi Weingarten and Michelle Marking start to sound like soul sisters when it comes to BIG BAD DATA. And when it comes to the “creepy” factor, I think we all need to get over it. For my children and their generation, it’s no big thing. That Google knows what they want to see before they do is a feature, not a bug or bogeyman.

This sort of resistance is part of the reason public education continues to struggle with its perception of being antiquated. Ultimately, it will be futile.

— Kevin Hogan
Editorial Director



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Editor’s Note: Best Guesses

In what has become an annual Tech&Learning tradition, theeditors asked our esteemed team of advisors to bring outthe crystal ball and try to divine what’s next in edtech.

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Editor’s Note: Showstopper

The thought came to me somewhere amid the throng in theGeorgia World Congress convention center in Atlantalast June, which I then promptly posted to Facebook (ofcourse): “Has edtech become cool?!”

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Editor’s Note: Focus on the Function

The great Los Angeles iPad debacle continues this fall,with contract suspensions, admin investigations, andcalls for resignations (oh my!) If you haven’t beenfollowing the story, I’ll point you to latimes.com forall the ugly details, but let’s just say the whole affaircontinues to stink, especially for the students.

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I’m not sure if contributing editor Ellen Ullman likes doingher taxes or not, but she sure seemed to enjoy digging intothe finances of some of the country’s more innovative schooldistricts (Smart Ways to Save).