Education is increasingly big data-driven. Digitally-mediated education tools, social media data mining, and the Internet of Things generates a wealth of data about students’ actions both within and outside classrooms. Personalized learning platforms use detailed, real-time learner information to adjust instruction, assessment, and guidance automatically through adaptive structures and artificial intelligence. These algorithmic profiles can also serve as credentials in the place of traditional resumes and transcripts, and, in doing so, provide more access to better quality, lower-cost education and socioeconomic opportunity.
This presentation examines the rise, promise, and perils of big data-driven education. New technologies and infrastructures may have unintended consequences that undermine the very goals reformers seek to achieve. As part of an emerging “scored society,” reliance on what I call “algorithmic credentials” also has important implications for society, the economy, and democracy.
Elana Zeide is an associate research scholar at CITP, a visiting fellow at Yale Univeristy’s Information Society Project, an affiliate of New York University’s Information Law Institute and the Data & Society Research Institute, and an advisory board member of the Future of Privacy Forum. She works as attorney, scholar, and consultant focusing on student privacy, predictive analytics, and the proverbial permanent record in the age of big data. She examines the law, policies, and cultural norms emerging as education, and the rest of society, becomes increasingly data-driven. Zeide advises parents, educators, companies, and policymakers on student information practices in traditional schools, virtual learning environments, and the commercial sphere. She also writes for both popular and academic publications, recently including a discussion of algorithmic profiling on Slate, an article examining student privacy regulation in the Drexel Law Review, and a chapter on legal requirement and best practices in the forthcoming Handbook of Learning Analytics & Educational Data Mining.
Zeide graduated from Yale University and New York University’s School of Law. She subsequently worked as a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLC, a legal analyst at Bloomberg L.P., and a visiting professor at Yale University, where she taught courses on Free Speech and the First Amendment before opening her own privacy and technology law practice.
Prior to becoming an attorney, Zeide was a journalist and pop culture columnist in London and New York, and earned a Master of Fine Arts in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts. She believes she is the only person to have both reported for and legally represented The National Enquirer.