📑 Learning lessons from data controversies

Bookmarked Learning lessons from data controversies by Ben Williamson

By learning lessons from past controversies with data in education, and anticipating the controversies to come, we can ensure we have good answers to these hard questions. We can also ensure that good, ethical data practices are built in to educational technologies, hopefully preventing problems before they become full-blown public data controversies.

In a talk delivered at OEB2018 in Berlin on 7 December 2018, Ben Williamson discusses a number of topics associated with the use of big data in education:

  • Software can’t ‘solve’ educational ‘problems’
  • Global edtech influence raises public concern
  • Data leaks break public trust
  • Algorithmic mistakes & encoded politics cause social consequences
  • Transparency, not algorithmic opacity, is key to building trust with users
  • Psychological surveillance raises fears of emotional manipulation
  • ‘Reading the brain’ poses risks to human rights
  • Genetic datafication could lead to dangerous ‘Eugenics2.0’

This is a good introduction to Williamson’s book on the same topic, which unpacks these issues in more detail. Along with Audrey Watters year in review, these posts provide a useful snapshot of educational technology in 2018. You can also watch the talk.


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