Technology coupled with personalized teaching methods are becoming increasingly popular as it can improve and enhance student learning. Over time, we can see what helps students, what non-academic factors influence student learning, potential inequalities in the system, and provide personalized learning systems.
However, for algorithms and edtech to win over parents and educators, transparency, information sharing, and privacy are essential. Parents and educators can’t make informed decisions without them. Over the past decade, laptops, tablets, social media platforms, websites and ‘free’ apps replaced traditional educational paper worksheets, classroom assignments and assessments. As a result, students automatically generate enormous amounts of sensitive data about themselves every day without privacy and security measures in place. Sensitive data includes names, dates of birth, home addresses, even health records, special education referrals, and, in some cases, biometric data such as fingerprints and facial scans. Without proper privacy and security standards, we can’t establish necessary metrics to quantify how well applications and services adhere to the requirements and to improve personalized learning.
Safe Environments has studied the use and handling of data in the high-schools of Barcelona, assessing how the proliferation of digital technologies in educational environments has been developed and implemented without following protocols that effectively ensure the protection of students’ data. By this means the project contributes to the ongoing debate about the incorporation of ICT to education and seeks to achieve better privacy and data management policies.