Privacy Pitfalls as Education Apps Spread Haphazardly

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Reposted from the New York Times:

In the Fairfax County, Va., school district, technology experts have conducted their own security reviews of several hundred digital learning products, and failed a few of the most popular ones. In Houston, one of the largest districts in the country, administrators are testing their own rating system for digital learning products and developing a set of district-approved apps for teachers.

And in Raytown, Mo., Melissa Tebbenkamp, the school district’s director of instructional technology, vets every app that teachers want to try before allowing it to be used with students. Among other things, she checks to make sure those services do not exploit students’ email addresses to push products on them or share students’ details with third parties.

“We have a problem with sites targeting our teachers and not being responsible with our data,” Ms. Tebbenkamp said. For school technology directors around the country, she added, “it is a can of worms.” The new tools are being pushed by a rapidly expanding education technology industry. Some educators, entrepreneurs and philanthropists are particularly enthusiastic about adaptive learning products because they aim to tailor lessons to the individual abilities of each student.

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Killer Apps In The Gigabit Age

killer apps

Reposted from the Pew Research Internet Project:

To explore the possibilities of the next leap in connectivity we asked thousands of experts and Internet builders to share their thoughts about likely new Internet activities and applications that might emerge in the gigabit age. We call this a canvassing because it is not a representative, randomized survey. Its findings emerge from an “opt in” invitation to experts, many of whom play active roles in Internet evolution as technology builders, researchers, managers, policymakers, marketers, and analysts. We also invited comments from those who have made insightful predictions to our previous queries about the future of the Internet. (For more details, please see the section “About this Canvassing of Experts.”)

  1. People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.
  2. Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.
  3. The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.
  4. Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.
  5. New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.
  6. Who knows? ‘I have no idea due to rapid change.’ ‘The best Internet apps are yet to emerge.’ ‘If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, I would invest in it!’
  7. Advances will be gradual for various reasons: Bandwidth is not the issue. The US will lag because a widespread gigabit network is not easily achieved.

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The Gigabit Age: Killer Apps and the Semantic Web

killarapps

Reposted from the Pew Research Internet Project:

In 2014, Google and Verizon were among the innovators announcing that they are testing the capabilities for currently installed fiber networks to carry data even more efficiently – at 10 gigabits per second – to businesses that handle large amounts of Internet traffic.

To explore the possibilities of the next leap in connectivity we asked thousands of experts and Internet builders to share their thoughts about likely new Internet activities and applications that might emerge in the gigabit age. We call this a canvassing because it is not a representative, randomized survey. Its findings emerge from an “opt in” invitation to experts, many of whom play active roles in Internet evolution as technology builders, researchers, managers, policymakers, marketers, and analysts. We also invited comments from those who have made insightful predictions to our previous queries about the future of the Internet.

How could people benefit from a gigabit network? One expert in this study, David Weinberger, a senior researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, predicted, “There will be full, always-on, 360-degree environmental awareness, a semantic overlay on the real world, and full-presence massive open online courses. Plus Skype won’t break up nearly as much.”

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