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Education Privacy

Chicago E-Learning Scheme Embraces Virtual Badges For Public Schoolers 46

theodp (442580) writes "Over at the Chicago City of Learning, children are asked to join the CPS Connects initiative and instructed to provide their Chicago Public School (CPS) student ID to "connect your learning experiences in your school and around the city". Doing so, explains the website, will allow kids to "earn digital badges that unlock new, related opportunities and can give access to live learning experiences throughout Chicago from program partners," which will serve as "an indicator of achievement to colleges and employers." The initiative aims to "get 80% of all 3rd-12th grade students to claim their accounts by January 30th." Before you scoff at the idea that a child's future could depend on his or her Digital Badge collection, consider that the supporters helping government make it happen include the MacArthur Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Mozilla, and a number of business and education partners have made public pledges committing to help accelerate the spread and scale of digital badges for learning. Digital badge-based employment has also earned a thumbs-up from the White House. It's unclear, but might make sense that Chicago kids' digital badges will be collected and shared in the citywide data warehouse being built by the 'cradle-to-career' Thrive Chicago initiative, which is working with the Mayor's Office and CPS to develop a "data system that integrates data from multiple partner agencies, links program participation data to other youth data, and provides a web interface where partner agencies can access youth data targeted on improving youth outcomes at the individual and aggregate levels." After all, the data collected will include "student demographics, school attendance, grades, student behavior, out of school time program participation, and progress to graduation." Not only that, Thrive Chicago's Leadership Council includes the interim President of the MacArthur Foundation (as well as Microsoft and IBM employees)." Update: 01/12 15:52 GMT by T : An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the MacArthur Foundation, which has now been corrected.
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Chicago E-Learning Scheme Embraces Virtual Badges For Public Schoolers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @07:42AM (#48791879)

    on your permanent record.

    • And apparently your social media profile...
    • dissent will be recorded on your permanent record.

      I'm going to hire the kid that has 100% of all available badges, including those that were only available for a limited time before s/he was born and those that are mutually exclusive because it's physically impossible to be in 3 places at once.

      That kid understands computers and the system.

  • Never heard of it... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Polling some CPS parents and employees, none I contacted have yet to hear of this initiative.

    It's great when senior management - erm, politicians - tout something to the press without any attempt at buy-in from the stakeholders. That usually means that something won't be very good for people who have to do the work but allows "leadership" to present metrics that they are succeeding.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness billionaires never have any alternative motive.

  • But you need to be sure that you are measuring the right things. Teaching to the test is not necessarily the best approach. Hopefully this will work out better than some of our professional certs for predicting job performance, but I doubt it. What is the problem that they are trying to solve, other than employers are lazy and don't want to look at resumes and transcripts?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I got "scared" reading this, look at these lines:
      "where partner agencies can access youth data"
      and
      "links program participation data to other youth data"
      and
      "student demographics, school attendance, grades, student behavior, out of school time program participation, and progress to graduation"

      Those three lines right there should have people freaking out, kids need to be kids and have time to grow up, learn, make mistakes, learn, figure out how to socialize and interact without having everything they do go on

      • As seeing that we are near a point where lot's jobs may be gone soon maybe we should have basic income / forced OT pay starting at 35-40 hours a week.

        As lot's of people may end up being job blacked list and when Mc'd goes mostly automated they will not even work there. But I think you still just need HS to join the army.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2015 @08:18AM (#48791981)

    Before you scoff at the idea that a child's future could depend on his or her Digital Badge collection, consider that the supporters helping government make it happen include the McCormick Foundation, Gates Foundation, and Mozilla, and a number of business and education partners have made public pledges committing to help accelerate the spread and scale of digital badges for learning. Digital badge-based employment has also earned a thumbs-up from the White House.

    Except that you listed exactly those reasons why one should not only scoff at this idea, but maybe also be worried about it.
    Firstly, it's a huge privacy breach. Secondly, it sounds like a privatisation of the school system. School is supposed to shape good humans and grow a decent generation. It's not a corporate-driven training ground.

    • I'm not terribly impressed (as is typical with this '21st century skills!' Digital! STEM!' flailing); but one thing that's worth pointing out is that, even with boring old traditional education, there is a substantial 'privatized' component. Most notably, textbooks. The fight between Texas and California(the two largest markets, as well as the two most likely to loath whatever the other one likes) hash out the outline; but Pearson and friends end up actually making the sausage and selling it to the schools.
    • I found the phrase "cradle-to-career" particularly onerous.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        I found the phrase "cradle-to-career" particularly onerous.

        Yeah, I know I am also horrified at the possibility my infant daughter might someday have to pursue a career. Will someone please think of the children?

        • I'm with GP. Through my exposure to my coworkers' children, I'm seeing career specialization being encouraged during early high school. At that point in my education, I had zero formal introduction to what my career would become. To me and I think to GP, the phrase "cradle-to-career" doesn't mean that my daughter will pursue a career, but based on some "tests" my daughter might come out of the cradle with a specific career path to pursue.
          • by ranton ( 36917 )

            Through my exposure to my coworkers' children, I'm seeing career specialization being encouraged during early high school.

            Considering my secondary education was 20 years ago, and I don't have close friends or coworkers with kids in high school, I am curious as to what career specialization you see in high school today. My experience from 20 years ago is that high schools were moving away from vocational classes such as shop or automotive and spending more energy into college prep-like classes. I would be very surprised to hear that high schools are starting to teach plumbing, electrical wiring, carpentry, etc. with greater zea

            • Some of my coworkers have kids who are have specialties like programming, robotics, cybersecurity, or pre-engineering. When I was in high school, I would have jumped at the opportunity for that but looking back I think it would have been too young to start down a path. I knew several people who long before that made it to senior year of college or beyond and said I don't really love this thing I've been specializing in. I can't imagine where I would be if I'd made that decision at 14.
              • by ranton ( 36917 )

                Some of my coworkers have kids who are have specialties like programming, robotics, cybersecurity, or pre-engineering.

                While I see where you are coming from, classes like these are not about staring kids along a career path. They are intended to get children excited about learning.

                • I can easily see why a student would be more interested in learning physics and algebra when it is used to get a robotic arm to lift a ball for a robotics competition than it is having them solve equations.
                • The basic level of cyber-security you would teach a high school student is likely to be useful to any citizen, and is probably not intended t
        • You should be most especially concerned that a cartel of corporations will be able to track every detail of your child from "cradle to career". Your daughter will be tracked, collated, monetized, cross referenced, and have her information sold to whoever is willing to pay for it.

          I don't even have children, and that concerns me.

          If you see no problem with a bunch of shady players, doing stuff for which they have no evidence, and from which they will enrich their own agenda, knowing all of this information ab

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      School is supposed to shape good humans and grow a decent generation. It's not a corporate-driven training ground.

      Honestly, a corporate-driven training ground is exactly what school is. An argument could be made that post-secondary education is meant for expanding your horizons, but the goal of elementary and secondary education is to train a workforce. There is a reason why our schools are designed to create good factory workers and office drones. While I also would like school to change its primary goal, lets not be dishonest about what the main goal of public schooling has always been.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/... [huffingtonpost.com]
    Better Learning Through Expensive Software
    Michael Beyer
    12/29/2014

    Recently, a kerfuffle erupted over the Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel's appointed school board member, Deborah Quazzo. First the Sun Times detailed how several companies she invests in profit from business with CPS. Then, in a separate piece the Sun Times editorial board suggested she should step down because she invested in companies that do millions of dollars of business with the Board and with individual sch

  • The MacArthur Foundation, not McCormick, is the nonprofit listed on the Chicago City of Learning page, and is the foundation that teamed up with Gates and on The Badges for Lifelong Learning and Mozilla on The Badge Alliance. The Presidents of both the MacArthur and McCormick Foundations are on the Thrive Chicago Leadership Council (the McCormick Foundation is the one listed as a "contributor"). Sorry for the confusion!

  • The one thing I hate about social networking, especially when used in a corporate setting, is the ridiculous use of badges.

    There is nothing more annoying than a tool which is touted as something which will make it easier to do our jobs which wants to give us badges for participating.

    In the end the platform becomes utterly useless, but somehow it's trying to reward you/motivate you to keep using it to get some stupid fscking badge.

    I predict this will lead to privacy issues for the kids, and provide zero net

    • Yes, but by taking an integrated approach to building social media awareness, they will build synergy and change the paradigm. Through best practices, they'll build core competencies that empower students to think outside the box of their existing ecosystem.

      And I guarantee you that the preceding paragraph is the exactly the kind of bullshit that was used to sell this turd to the politicians who approved it (along with a few generous campaign contributions, of course).

    • EMPLOYER: "If you're qualified, then where are your digital badges?" KID: "Digital Badges? We ain't got no digital badges. We don't need no digital badges. I don't have to show you any stinkin' digital badges!" EMPLOYER: "Next!"

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      "gamerfication" is something that some educators want to try. I see no problem with this as some students will respond to this kind of motivation. I see it as worthy as grades. Long term, however, the value will be no more than grades or a high school diploma. There will be issues with validity and value. Did the kid earn the badge or was given the badge. Were the requirements for the badge the same everywhere, or were some people give lower requirements.
  • Well, I guess if it works in one context....

    http://armorgames.com/play/289... [armorgames.com]

  • Millenials and their "new" inventions. Back in my day we wore our merit badges on a SASH!

  • It is partially based on the Scout badges concept. Like those, I think that the biggest impact will be in providing a way to showcase skills rather than academic achievements. This means that they are likely to have more value for those who aren't the academic high-flyers, but who have a great set of skills, interests and achievements that they want to make people aware of.

    In some ways, the badges are an alternative to paper certificates (or sew-on patches) but, being digital, have some significant advan
  • Fuck that noise. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jcr ( 53032 )

    "Hey, let's put tags on all the kids and make them think it's normal for government officials to know where they are at all times! What could possibly go wrong?"

    -jcr

  • No one ever got a education from technology. In 10 years millions of dollars will have been spent, it will never have worked right and will be dropped.
    stop putting computers in class rooms, stop having digital pads. Stop using websites to teach.

If I set here and stare at nothing long enough, people might think I'm an engineer working on something. -- S.R. McElroy

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