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This Week in Student Privacy: 8/04

Student Privacy: The Next Frontier

This report prioritizes open issues and offers recommended next steps in the ed tech and connected learning space, building from and reflecting upon a conversation organized by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society's Student Privacy Initiative. This working meeting was envisioned as one in a series of conversations which deepens our understanding of emerging and future privacy issues in K-12 learning environments, both formal and informal.

In order to evaluate the challenges and opportunities fostered by the next generation of ed tech, participants were asked to consider the following four layers of the ed tech ecosystem, each of which informs the others in myriad ways: technological infrastructure, data, organizational structures, and norms and values. Keeping these layers in mind, discussion ranged widely across numerous themes, reflecting the participants’ diverse backgrounds and perspectives. This report seeks to summarize the conversation’s main themes and highlight suggestions for future action.


Carnegie Mellon’s launches LearnSphere project

“CMU is leading an effort called LearnSphere to accelerate developing and disseminating learning techniques and technologies.” “LearnSphere [is] a new $5 million federally funded project” to “increase the amount of data shared by creating a distributed, rather than centralized, system.” The project leader, Ken Koedinger, said “We’re trying to create a culture in which scientists will not only be cited for their research findings, but also for their datasets.”

LearnSphere hopes to “[make] it easier and faster for researchers to analyze big data sets — mostly student keyboard clicks — in order to test educational theories and boost learning outcomes.” But Koedinger “says he’s not going to allow any personal information from school records in LearnSphere.” “[A] research manager will monitor the data to make sure nothing that could identify a student is included.”

Read more about LearnSphere: “CMU takes Learning Science To Next Level” (CMU), “Carnegie Mellon’s LearnSphere picks up where InBloom left off” (Education Dive), “Carnegie Mellon Project Revives inBloom’s Student Data Dream” (US News)



This update was compiled by Jeremiah Milbauer, with help from Paulina Haduong. Jeremiah is a rising freshman at the University of Chicago and an intern for the Student Privacy Initiative.

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