Big Data and Public Education

Analytics are the key to giving researchers an infinite amount of data about their subjects, but what happens when these subjects are children in a public school? According to an article in Education Week, data can be collected from anything  — from cameras recording kids in school to trackers that monitor heart rates during different points throughout the school day. This information can be analyzed and shared with the teachers and the parents to better track and understand a child’s progress with their education.

Despite the means for implementing big data collection in schools, the debate still exists around whether or not data collection actually belongs in the classroom. Some parents have expressed concern that enhanced data collection prevents kids from being kids, and have likened it to experimenting on children.

Those in favor of big data collection are eager to prove that the benefits outweigh the concerns for schools, and for students. The data collected and analyzed can help create personalized learning experiences that are tailored to how each individual child learns. In addition to refining the approach to the topics taught, big data can also help inform what time of day to teach for optimal learning, ultimately allowing teachers to personalize their students’ education.

There’s no doubt that a personalized education may help churn out more confident, well-rounded students, but privacy concerns and data collection still present real challenges and considerations for those leading the change.



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