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With the increase in the costs of providing education and concerns about financial responsibility, heightened consideration of accountability and results, elevated awareness of the range of teacher skills and student learning styles and needs, more focus is being placed on the promises offered by online software and educational technology. One of the most heavily marketed, exciting and controversial applications of edtech involves the varied educational programs to which different students are exposed based on how big data applications have evaluated their likely learning profiles. Characterized most often as ‘personalized learning,’ these programs raise a number of ethical concerns especially when used at the K-12 level. This paper analyzes the range of these ethical concerns arguing that characterizing them under the general rubric of ‘privacy’ oversimplifies the concerns and makes it too easy for advocates to dismiss or minimize them. Six distinct ethical concerns are identified: information privacy; anonymity; surveillance; autonomy; non-discrimination; and ownership of information. Particular attention is paid to whether personalized learning programs raise concerns similar to those raised about educational tracking in the 1950s. The paper closes with discussion of three themes that are important to consider in ethical and policy discussions.
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- Ethical challenges of edtech, big data and personalized learning: twenty-first century student sorting and tracking
Priscilla M. Regan
- Springer Netherlands
Ethics and Information Technology
Print ISSN: 1388-1957
Elektronische ISSN: 1572-8439
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