Who owns our data?
Our school encourages in our daily work and curricula a continuous emphasis on digital citizenship and digital safety; we practice citizenship in our classrooms, virtual and in reality. This discussion and practice we hope will carry over into our students’ personal choices, online and and off. In addition, our school board believes and is adopting a school policy that explains that students own the copyright to all their work. Our Google Apps for Education allows for transfer of their data to them should they choose to continue their work with their personal accounts after their graduation. Student accounts in online networks do not refer to students’ real names; students choose pseudonyms. We balance digital literacy, privacy, and transparency.
We are still dealing with the ownership of educator’s work, since many of our staff work well beyond the time to which our contract employs us. For innovation and creativity to develop to implement the many requirements related to teaching and learning (learning and teaching standards), the intellectual work of the staff must be acknowledged and respected. We must balance the work asked of the district during district time, and the work created by staff on their own time for the benefit of student learning and professional development.
Apps for Networking and Sharing
After the amazing presentation by Audrey Watters (Hack Education and @audreywatters ), I now will add these ideas to our curricula:
- Terms of Service Understanding: Read your TOS — who owns your data — you or the application?
- Ownership and Portability: Who owns your data — Can you delete it? Can you transfer it? Can you download it into a human readable format?
- Curation: How do you track your own footprints? How do you manage your digital data — your footprints back to you? How do you create value in what you create?
I have always skimmed the Terms of Service in the online applications I use, looking for who owns the data. We need to share this with our students. Audrey provides links to various sites that clarify and support ideas on ownership, transparency, anonymity, and privacy. How do we guide students to curate and own the information generated by them? How do we do this for ourselves as teachers? And how do we encourage the concept that we should control our own data? What data are we talking about?
We need to think about JackieGerstein‘s statement in this tweet: “Education decision makers use data to do things to students rather than empowering students with the data to do for themselves.” What data do the students want? What data will help them? What conversation will we have in our classrooms about this?
Why do we collect data? Why do we share? We are social beings and we communicate and create together. We “collect to recollect,” as Audrey puts it. We collect to revalue what we value. And that is key: adding, sharing, creating value for the communities, the neighborhoods of our real or virtual relationships and associations. Our challenge is to curate what we create and share, and maintain the value we create without giving it to those agencies that exploit what we have chosen to create and share.
Whether a student or teacher, you create data — your work, your tests, your words, your numbers, your ideas. It’s yours. Or is it? What do you think?
In my mind, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln’s words:
I believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes with any other mans rights. The inference of that quote is that who we are and what we do belongs to us. Now we have a responsibility to maintain that right, as we have always had the responsibility to manage who we are and what we do in ways that promote the common good.
How do we do so? How do I do so?
- Document that which is ours (mine).
- Create more value than we (I) take.
- Curate, declare, and manage our (my) data.
- Model for others.
- Accept and encourage Terms of Service that acknowledge our (my) ownership of our (my) data, its use, and its portability.
- Expect that the products we (I) use also creates value rather than simply takes value from us (me).
- If an adult, be transparent in who we are (I am). [Students may maintain anonymity with pseudonyms]
- Educate others on their own (my) rights.
- Educate politicians.
Audrey gave us some places to help us help:
Quantified Self Movement: http://quantifiedself.com/
Locker Project: http://lockerproject.org/
Electronic Frontier: https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
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