education's digital future


With a few bits of data, researchers identify ‘anonymous’ people

Even when real names and other personal information are stripped from big data sets, it is often possible to use just a few pieces of the information to identify a specific person, according to a study to be published Friday in the journal Science.

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Hard Questions About Big Data

When the teacher and poet Taylor Mali declares, “I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face,” he testifies to the powerful ways teachers can use emotions to help students learn and grow. Students -- and their parents -- put a great deal of trust in college educators to use these powers wisely and cautiously. This is why the unfolding debacle of the Facebook emotional contagion experiment should give educators great pause.

Should Facebook manipulate users?

Should we worry that technology companies can secretly influence our emotions? Apparently so.

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Privacy fears over student data tracking lead to InBloom's shutdown

A year ago, every public school student in New York State fell under the watchful eye of InBloom, a data analytics company. Schools sent the company an enormous batch of data spanning 400-odd fields that included a wide range of personal details, from test scores and special-education enrollment to whether kids got free lunches. The idea was to compile enough information so teachers or software could tailor assignments to each student’s needs.

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Robots will intrude on privacy, and spur better laws as a result

WHAT IS IT ABOUT ROBOTS? Our fascination with these machines dates back centuries. The ancient Greeks built them. Robots haunted the Industrial Revolution. For a time in the 1980s, the decade that brought us Short Circuit, The Terminator and RoboCop, it seemed that the United States had caught robot fever.

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Leading on Privacy

WASHINGTON -- As long as federal and state-level authorities drag their feet on updating privacy standards, higher education institutions and their private sector partners have an opportunity to lead on the issue and drag governments to the negotiating table.

Angry Over U.S. Surveillance, Tech Giants Bolster Defenses

SAN FRANCISCO — Google has spent months and millions of dollars encrypting email, search queries and other information flowing among its data centers worldwide. Facebook’s chief executive said at a conference this fall that the government “blew it.” And though it has not been announced publicly, Twitter plans to set up new types of encryption to protect messages from snoops.

It is all reaction to reports of how far the government has gone in spying on Internet users, sneaking around tech companies to tap into their systems without their knowledge or cooperation.

Deciding Who Sees Students’ Data

WHEN Cynthia Stevenson, the superintendent of Jefferson County, Colo., public schools, heard about a data repository called inBloom, she thought it sounded like a technological fix for one of her bigger headaches. Over the years, the Jeffco school system, as it is known, which lies west of Denver, had invested in a couple of dozen student data systems, many of which were incompatible.

Calif. school district monitors kids' social media

GLENDALE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California school district is trying to stop cyberbullying and a host of other teenage ills by monitoring the public posts students make on social media outlets in a program that has stirred debate about what privacy rights teenage students have when they fire up their smartphones.

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