Education

What's So Bad About Big Data In Little Classrooms?

When I was a kid we used to have ‘book fairs’ at school. Once or twice a year a room in the school would be transformed into a bookstore. Folding tables were covered in paperbacks. I remember glossy biographies of celebrities, movie novelizations, and TV show themed graphic novels.

Kids loved shopping. Regular books, recommended by our teachers, perfectly suited to our reading levels, were so much shinier and more exciting than the well-worn books in the library. Other than the awkward socio-economic realities it forced us to face–some kids had basically a blank check from their parents on book fair days–it was awesome.

I assume that in exchange for hosting the publishers, the school got a kick back. Some percentage of each sale likely went to the operating budget and kids were exposed to more ‘literacy.’ It sounds like a great deal. Everybody wins. But those were different times: back before the internet, long before we lost trust in corporate ethics, and words like “data-mining” were not even in our vernacular.

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