White House Report on Big Data: Technology in Education

On May 1, the White House released the report on its 90-day report on big data. “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values” illustrates uses for and concerns about big data generated in a variety of industries, including education. The report acknowledges that technology – particularly online trainings, instruction and cloud computing – provides enormous potential value for teachers and students alike but also presents issues about data ownership and privacy.

There are policy and governance issues addressed on technology education in the report on big data that will need to be worked out by the appropriate public and private groups. That said, here are some questions raised in the report that educational institutions of all levels – elementary, high school and college – should ask themselves and their providers as they consider technology investments, like cloud computing:

1. Who owns the data and how can it be used? This concerns both student data and teacher information, including test scores, training results, certifications, etc.

2. What should educational institutions do with data to improve student learning environments? How can data be securely stored, managed and shared to assist in student instruction, as well as school and course construction?

3. How can students be confident their data is safe? Privacy and security will be at the foundation of any technology solutions aimed at the education market.

Technology will play an increasingly larger role in education. This report on big data raises questions about data ownership, use and security, that need to be answered if institutions are going to be able to fully embrace the benefits of technology in education and supporting student achievement.