by Stephen Downes
Jan 28, 2015
Balancing the use of social media and privacy protection in online learning
online learning and distance education resources,
The United States, Russia, China and the U.K. are all classified as "Endemic surveillance societies." India and France follow close behind as "Systemic failure to uphold safeguards." So it's clear there's a problem. We probably can't fix it within educational technology, but we need to address it. Tony Bates does address it, but he does so largely from an institutional perspective. "Institutions want to protect students from personal data collection for commercial purposes by private companies, tracking of their online learning activities by government agencies, or marketing and other unrequested commercial or political interruption to their studies." The thing is, I don't think we can trust the institutions any more than I trust the governments or the companies.
Lecture Capture Fail
Bex Ferriday's Edutechy Wonderland,
Linking to an article by Mark Smithers called "Is lecture capture the single worst educational technology use in higher education?" Bex Ferriday argues that the technology simply preserves what was bad in traditional education. "The thought of filming a 3 hour lecture then slapping it onto a virtual learning system and expecting students to watch this in their own time seems more like a punishment than a good idea.... By filming your 3 hour diatribe on connecting muscles in the lower leg once, you never have to repeat the lecture again! Just point students towards the film and bingo!"
iOS 8.1.3 Arrives
So obviously some sort of work has been happening behind the scenes as Apple's operating system iOS 8.1.3 includes the following in today's update: "Adds new configuration options for Education standardized testing." It's not clear exactly what that means. None of the dozen or so sites I visited had any information over and above this exact phrase, and it's not mentioned at all in the 8.1.3 security update. I'd I had to guess, I'd say it has something to do with tamper-proof content that can be used for testing. If you want to pursue the full list, here's everything.
The Internet of Things
Federal Trade Commission,
Released today by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, this report (71 page PDF) looks at the provacy and security implications of the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea behind the IoT is that devices and appliances can have their own internet connections and exchange information with online services. A good example is the FitBit, which a person wears on their wrist, and which exchanges information about movement and exercise with the online service. The IoT is incredibly useful, but security issues abound. The FTC report recommends building security into the devices from the outset. It also recommends full disclosure on any personal information being tracked. Companies should train their employees in security, and respond to security threats appropriately. Additionally, companies should limit the data they collect (this is a concept known as 'data minimization'). They're not recommending legislation at this point (it would be "premature") but as Ars Technica points out, the FTC has the option of civil suits to encourage compliance.
Private Eye: See who’s tracking you online
Today is Data Privacy Day, says Firefox, and to celebrate the moment they've launched Lightbeam: "Create a 'Wizard of Oz' moment by pulling back the curtain to see who’s watching you on the Web. Turn on Mozilla’s Lightbeam tool, visit a handful of websites to see who’s tracking you, and then learn how to fight back. You’ll never look at the Web the same way again!" I tried it out and it works quite well (you may need to reload the tool to get the graph to refresh). The circles are visited sites and the triangles are applications that are tracking you as you visit the sites.
This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe,
Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own,
you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.