Week four was divided into two different themes that looked at privacy and protection as well as law and policy. It was prudent timing because released during this week was a documentary on Netflix called the Great Hack that speaks to the insidious nature of data accumulation and what the companies who store our data can do with it. While all documentaries can be dissected for bias, its central focus, that large scale digital companies can accumulate data and act without our knowledge to influence us, is a pretty objective fact in today’s digital world.
One of the interesting thoughts that I had while watching this was what would education be like if the same tools that big digital corporations used to manipulate us were used positively in schools for the purpose of educating. Teaching in its crudest form, is social manipulation – particularly from a behaviour sense. Assigned seating so a students’ attention is not distracted, pacing lessons so that enthusiasm is kept, designing lessons that attract and motivate learning. Would I be able to teach better by virtue of keeping a students attention if I had access to the same data tools that Cambridge Analytica did? Would my teaching and lessons change for the better?
In most schools, data sets are still remedial and there is sincere respect to privacy when it comes to sharing them; often at the detriment of the student and teacher who would otherwise benefit from making connections to the patterns within them.
Through serendipity I found a very useful link after engaging with comments made in the forum discussions this week. In the thread Are we thinking too small with policy development? Lori and Julianne lead me to a NS Dept. of Education webpage that sent me through a world of dead and mis-labled links but ultimately culminated in my stumbling upon a website called Need Help Now. The site is a an initiative from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, and is developed very clearly and with many resources for youth, parents and teachers alike. One of its main features is a clear and organized page for describing how to Remove Pictures/Videos from social media and websites by identifying where to go on each of these services to report indecent images. Further, it helps to clarify the law and gives generalized advice about what actions you should take.