Google’s Intrusion into Schools

There has been a lot discussed in regards to the presence of commercial platforms in schools, the FANGS as Alex Hern might put it. This recently came to light with a post from Natasha Singer discussing Google’s intrusion into the classroom:

Google makes $30 per device by selling management services for the millions of Chromebooks that ship to schools. But by habituating students to its offerings at a young age, Google obtains something much more valuable. source

Unsurprisingly, this has sparked some debate, with Andrew Stillman arguing,

Google has captured market share from these incumbents through scrappy, user-centric product management practices that have produced tools that transform what’s possible in classrooms in a way that — used well — can result in markedly more powerful, iterative, feedback-rich, creative student experiences. source

Doug Levin adds the following to the discussion,

The choice by education leaders to obfuscate and excuse the trading away of our children’s communications and information (about their social lives, emotions, and behaviors) in exchange for discounted school technology is neither a good deal for schools nor the only way that schools can afford technology. It speaks to the success of technology company advocacy and marketing (including the overselling of the intelligence of their tools), as much as it speaks to a lack of imagination by education leaders. source

On a side note is Bill Fitzgerald’s discussion of Edmodo and Doubleclick’s COPPA-compliant flag, where somehow collecting data is compliant.

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