Monday, April 11, 2016

EDUCATION - In the Student Digital World

"Why digital education could be a double-edged sword" PBS NewsHour 4/5/2016


SUMMARY:  Public education is becoming increasingly digitized -- these days, schools can compile everything from a student’s grades to their eating habits in online profiles.  But while this technology facilitates personalized learning, it also puts student data at risk of being compromised and misused, and extra security could come at the expense of education.  John Tulenko of Education Week reports.

JOHN TULENKO (NewsHour):  Miami, Florida, is taking on one of public education’s oldest problems:  With so many students, how do you personalize instruction?  One answer is with computers.

At Miami’s iPrep Academy, one-size-fits-all lessons are a thing of the past.

NICOLE RASMUSON, iPrep Academy:  We all started at the very beginning, and then some just took off.

JOHN TULENKO:  Nicole Rasmuson teaches math, using innovative software.

NICOLE RASMUSON:  It’s about 70 percent online.  And it’s a smart program, and so it checks, are they understanding, are they answering questions correctly right away?  Are they struggling?  Is it taking them a long time to answer questions?  Do they keep making mistakes?

JOHN TULENKO:  All the while, the computer is crunching and storing data about the students and sending back customized lessons.

NICOLE RASMUSON:  It’ll ask them, what are your interests?  And so, in the word problems, it’ll — if one kid’s really interested in food, it’ll talk about cookies and that kind of stuff.  It’ll even ask them, what are your friends’ names?  And then it’ll put their friends’ names in the problems, too.

JOHN TULENKO:  All that gets uploaded, along with student schedules, grades, discipline records, homework and even e-mails, the makings of what some have called a digital profile, that privacy expert Joel Reidenberg fears could someday be used in unauthorized ways.

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