PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A recent study conducted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shows education technology companies collect a lot of information about students, but few reveal exactly what they do with it.
“Parents are very nervous, and rightfully so, when third parties are empowered to build dossiers on their children,” Fordham Law School professor Joel Reidenberg told the news site. “Unless they have a means of learning what data is being collected, they have no way to independently assess the risks to their children, and whether this is a good product or a bad product.”
Student data has become a hot topic in the wake of new Common Core national standards, which encourage schools to increase the use of technology in the classroom and collection of student data that’s later shared with the federal government. The obvious concerns for student privacy are among numerous reasons an increasing number of parents are speaking out in opposition to Common Core.
The Post-Gazette reviewed 143 education technology providers in Pennsylvania and found the amount of student information collected and how it’s used varied widely. Glogster EDU, a Czech Republic-based smartphone app used in Pennsylvania schools collects students’ “name, address, email … date of birth, gender, country … interests, hobbies, lifestyle choices, groups with whom they are affiliated (schools, companies), videos and/or pictures, private messages, bulletins or personal statements,” according to the news site.
That information could be sold or shared with “consumer products, telecom, financial, military, market research, entertainment, and educational services…