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Posts Tagged ‘student

I had an uncomfortable gut feeling when I read this CNA article about biometric payments being available to schools here in 2018.

I had to dig deep for why I was uncomfortable. After all, I am all for technology making lives better. And therein lay the problem: In doing good, there was also the potential for harm.

The good is the sheer convenience of going cashless while being able to track spending. This might be the start of basic financial literacy.

According to the news article, the system has safety measures:

Fingerprint information will not be stored on the device. Instead, the prints will be encrypted and stored securely in a cloud database.

Anti-spoofing technology will also be put in place to ensure that the fingerprints are real and that the person making the payment is present.

This is the trifecta of data accuracy (reading), data security (keeping), and data integrity (reliably identifying). If just one to fails, the system’s users are harmed. Take the recent Instagram hack, for example.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that the three data concepts are sound in practice. What is the harm then?

To answer this question, we need to ask at least one other question: What else can vendors do with the data that is accurate, “stored securely”, and reliable?

The short answer is lots. One needs only look at what Facebook and Google did (and continue to do) with our data. They offer their services for “free” to us because our data serves up advertisements which make these companies money. Lots of it.

One needs only to casually search for data breaches and infringements involving these two companies. For example:

The last item was not so much about the privacy of data as about the use and manipulation of data. That is my point: Assuring stakeholders that data is accurate, authentic, and safe is not enough; it is the lack of transparency and foresight about what can be done with that data.

Students are particularly vulnerable because adults make decisions about their data and the kids have no say in the biometric scheme. By this I am referring to the scheme being employed as a Smart Nation initiative, not the choice of whether to join the scheme.

The issue is so serious that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has tips for teachers about student privacy. These include:

  • Making digital literacy part of the curriculum
  • Advocating for better training for teachers
  • Getting parental consent
  • Selecting technology tools carefully
  • Building community of like-minded privacy advocates

A Smart Nation needs people to make smart choices. To do that, people need good information. Where is the information about how the data might be used both intentionally and peripherally? What promises and standards of practice can service vendors and providers be held to? Where is the public debate on the data privacy of the especially vulnerable?

 
… is another man’s poison.

That was the saying that came to mind when I read this student’s feedback on teaching.

A reporting officer or an administrator might view this feedback on teaching negatively.

A teacher who focuses on content as a means of nurturing thoughtful learners might view this positively.

I am not describing a false dichotomy. I am summarising reality.

It is important to listen to what our learners have to say. Unfortunately, for some teachers this is rhetoric and they pay lip service to that statement.

Fortunately, some students take matters into their own hands and create messages for all to hear.

The latest one was This Is Genius.


Video source

It might have been inspired by another one in 2013 from across the pond.


Video source

The next video is not a spoken word performance like the first two, but it is no less important.


Video source

The girl probably had help writing the speech. There is nothing wrong with that since political leaders have speech writers.

The girl’s ideas were not entirely new or uniquely her own. There is nothing wrong with that since all of us reuse and recycle the work of others all the time.

The girl had the confidence and courage to stand up for a cause. There is something wrong with us if we judge that cynically or lack the same courage to do the same.

The girl was barely taller than the lectern she stood behind. But she had a view that few adults had. Are we listening to her? Are we listening to our students?

I am very selective of who I follow on Twitter. One account I follow is @ProblemaStudent.

This account seems to be half bot, half human. Some tweets seem scheduled and repeat based on odd patterns. But there are gems like the ones above.

The tweets are honest, and if you do not actually listen to your learners, you might imagine they would say things like these.

Which begs the question: Do you listen to your learners about how they learn?

NOW by mag3737, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic License  by  mag3737 

 
I agree with everything in this article except its title, Why Learning Through Social Networks Is The Future.

The gist of the article is that students benefit from forming their own personal learning networks just like teachers benefit from their professional learning networks.

Why title this as something to aspire to in the future instead of now? Kids are already leveraging on social media to get help with their homework. Personal learning networks are already happening without the knowledge or permission of teachers and administrators.

Looking to the future makes some people put things off. Now is the time to leverage on PLNs. Now is the time to add value by including the guidance, wisdom, and experience of teachers who care.


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