The Structural Consequences of Big Data-Driven Education

In a post called Ethical Use of Big Data in Education, Elana Zeide was featured in a very informative video addressing the topic of the post.  She has written a power packed article called The Structural Consequences of Big Data-Driven Education.  You can download the article by clicking here or you can read the article online by clicking here.

These three main points are clearly laid out in the abstract. (bolded for emphasis)

First, virtual learning environments create information technology infrastructures featuring constant data collection, continuous algorithmic assessment, and possibly infinite record retention. This undermines the traditional intellectual privacy and safety of classrooms.

Second, these systems displace pedagogical decision-making from educators serving public interests to private, often for-profit, technology providers. They constrain teachers’ academic autonomy, obscure student evaluation, and reduce parents’ and students’ ability to participate or challenge education decision- making.

Third, big data-driven tools define what ‘‘counts’’ as education by mapping the concepts, creating the content, determining the metrics, and setting desired learning outcomes of instruction.

The abstract, as well as the rest of the paper, indicate that these consequences result in important decisions being made by private entities, referred to by many as third party vendors, “without public scrutiny or pedagogical examination.”

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