Education data reality: A continued conversation

 Report by the Digital Futures Commission (UK): “explores how EdTech is currently used within schools, and identifies four problems that constrain children’s best interests when it comes to EdTech and the use of education data:

  1. Disproportional risks vs benefits: The actual benefits of EdTech and the data processed from children in schools are currently not discernible or in children’s best interests. Nor are they proportionate to the scope, scale and sensitivity of data currently processed from children in schools. The teachers and school staff reported modest added value of EdTech or the insights that could be extracted from the data processed by the EdTech in use without appropriate analytics skills required from teachers or school staff.
  2. Limited control over data: Schools have limited control or oversight over data processed from children through their uses of EdTech. This limited control over data results from the design of the specific EdTech, EdTech providers’ business models, the broader ecosystem of public and commercial stakeholders with interests in data processed from children in educational contexts and convoluted terms of service and privacy policies. Effectively, the power imbalance between EdTech providers and schools, as service users, is structured in the terms of use they signed up to and exacerbated by external pressure to use some EdTech services.
  3. Insufficient guidance: Currently, there is a distinct lack of comprehensive guidance for schools on how to manage EdTech providers’ data practices. Nor is there a minimum standard for acceptable features, data practices and evidence-based benefits for schools to navigate the currently fragmented EdTech market and select appropriate EdTech that offers educational benefits proportionate to the data it processes.
  4. Resource limitation: Patchy access to and security of digital devices at school and home due to cost and resource barriers means that access to digital technologies to deliver and receive education remains inequitable…(More)”.