Schools Keep Track of Students’ Online Behavior, But Do Parents Even Know?

Parents expect schools to keep track of their kids. But in the digital era, keeping track is vastly different than it was a generation ago, thanks to Big Data analytics.

According to its advocates, this is a very good thing. Gathering individual information on students can lead to “personalized” and “adaptive” learning platforms. If technology can help students become more successful, what’s not to like?

A lot, say privacy advocates, since the collection of information on students goes well beyond data used to shape individual curriculums.

That data collection is, “out of control,” according to Khaliah Barnes, director of the student privacy project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

In a recent blog post in the New York Times, Barnes said data collection is not just about attendance, grades, disciplinary records and learning aptitudes.

“Data gathering includes health, fitness and sleeping habits, sexual activity, prescription drug use, alcohol use and disciplinary matters. Students attitudes, sociability and even ‘enthusiasm’ are quantified, analyzed, recorded and dropped into giant data systems,” she wrote.