Capturing the Eyeballs and E-Wallets of Kids in Schools: Invades Updating School Board Policies.Report as inadecuate

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Updating School Board Policies, v31 n4 Sep 2000

Because of mounting budget pressures, a new business model is emerging that offers schools "free" technology supported by online advertising programs and the gathering of market data about students. Proponents argue these corporate associations benefit schools with dwindling resources. Opponents argue they are contrary to obligations to act in the interests of students. Using cookies, online registration, and questionnaires, market profiling gathers demographic information about users and their interests, needs, and buying habits. Arguments supporting the validity of online profiling are misleading, and involve significant obscured costs. Technically proficient children, lacking an understanding of the appropriate boundaries of personal privacy, are easily manipulated for commercial purposes. Positive and ethical school-business partnerships should not require students to observe commercial advertising, nor provide commercial access to captive audiences. Federal law protecting research subjects, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 provide schools guidance in developing ethical corporate partnerships. In developing a policy on commercialism, schools should avoid providing access to captive audiences; allow students to provide personal information; permit collection of anonymous data for improving the educational quality of Web sites; require written requests for approval by teachers to use Web sites, considering educational purposes, the nature, motive, and use of market data; carefully guide student research activities; allow teachers to analyze web sites for quality, appropriateness, and suitability of educational materials; and consider all possible impacts before accepting corporate technology resources. (TEJ)

Descriptors: Civil Liberties, Confidentiality, Corporate Support, Elementary Secondary Education, Information Dissemination, Information Policy, Information Sources, Internet, Online Systems, Partnerships in Education, Privacy, School Business Relationship, Technical Assistance, Technological Literacy, Technology Education

Author: Willard, Nancy


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