Project

Enabling Connected Learning

Team Members

About the Project

What is the value of data in education and learning?

Enabling Connected Learning was initiated to better understand the relationship between U.S. governmental policy, technology development, and innovative learning initiatives.

This initiative also sought to support the Cities of Learning movement in order to create bridges between different learning environments, all with the learner at the center.

As young people embrace technology to learn, play, and socialize, the boundaries between education, the home, and society get increasingly blurred. New concerns have emerged over student data, youth privacy, and educational reform. Federal and state policies focused on children, education, and technology influence what learning initiatives are possible. Privacy, safety, and security all shape the trustworthiness of different digital platforms and learning ecosystems, even as data can be used to enable new forms of learning and new opportunities for advancing education. While these issues are publicly debated and politically fraught, research to ground these conversations is limited.

The goal of this project was to better understand exactly how existing and proposed policies affect connected learning initiatives and where and when student data can and should be used. We worked with technology developers, policymakers, and researchers to identify and address issues that hinder efforts to empower young people and advance their learning opportunities.

Enabling Connected Learning was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

All Work

  • blog post
    Medium
    D&S researcher Claire Fontaine writes about data is speeding up school segregation. Data is great at masking its own embedded bias, and school performance data allows privileged parents to reinforce educational inequality.... Read on Medium
    August 2016
  • Resource
    Data & Society
    In this primer, D&S researcher Claire Fontaine examines the construct of accountability as it functions in discussions around education reform in the American public education system. Read more
    August 2016
  • Resource
    Data & Society
    This primer defines the boundaries of "personalized learning," explores the needs that various personalized learning systems aim to meet, and highlights the tensions between what is being promised with personalized learning and the practical realities of implementation. Read more
    July 2016
  • op-ed
    The Chronicle of Higher Education
    D&S founder danah boyd wrote a critical piece entitled 'Why Social Science Risks Irrelevance' questioning whether social science as an academic field is headed in the right direction. When we believe that we have a monopol... Read on The Chronicle of Higher Education
    July 2016
  • blog post
    Medium
    D&S research analyst Mikaela Pitcan wrote a brief overview discussing student data privacy. Student data privacy conversations center on concerns regarding the safeguarding of data collected in educational settings. These ... Read on Medium
    July 2016
  • blog post
    Points
    In this Points piece “Real Life Harms of Student Data,” D&S researcher Mikaela Pitcan argues that assessing real harms connected with student data forces us to acknowledge the mundane, human causes.  And she asks: "What do ... Read on Points
    June 2016
  • blog post
    Medium
    D&S Research Analyst Mikeala Pitcan gives us a round-up of news events from January through March 2016 addressing data and equity in schools with a focus on efforts to combat bias in data in New York's Specialized High Scho... Read on Medium
    March 2016
  • blog post
    Points
    "Student data can and has served as an equalizer, but it also has the potential to perpetuate discriminatory practices. In order to leverage student data to move toward equity in education, researchers, parents, and educators m... Read on Points
    March 2016
  • blog post
    Medium
    D&S Research Analyst Mikaela Pitcan gives a brief recap of student data & privacy related news from January - March 2016. Special attention is given to the Every Student Succeeds Act. Read on Medium
    March 2016
  • Longform
    Bright
    At what age should children be allowed to access the internet without parental oversight? This is a hairy question that raises all sorts of issues about rights, freedoms, morality, skills, and cognitive capability. Cultural val... Read on Bright
    December 2015