Big Data, AI and Schools

On the 10th of November 2023 IPA has participated at an online event on Data for Teaching and Learning in Schools: Trends and Issues and brought the voice of parents to the table.

In January 2023, in the context of emerging artificial intelligence tools, European Schoolnet launched a new initiative on using educational data in schools, co-funded by Erasmus+: the Agile EDU project. The European Dialogue Lab was a half-day interactive online workshop based on group discussions. The event aimed to bring together European and international institutions, policy actors, research associations, and civil society. After the presentation of the project and the research conducted so far, the organizers explained the dialogue approach methodology.

We were then divided to groups, to discuss the following questions:

  • How are key concepts linked (‘data’, ‘datafication’, ‘data literacy’, etc) in your country or institution?
  • How can European and international actors support a better understanding of these key concepts and the relationships between them? 

In our input, we have highlighted schools’ lack of effort and expertise to provide age-appropriate explanations and consent forms for children and easy-to-understand forms for their parents on what type of data is collected in schools and for what purpose. European and international actors can play a key role by providing inspiring practices, guidelines, and training materials to support this effort.  The group discussions had rapporteurs presenting the conclusions in a plenary session.

Then we were divided to new groups to discuss:

  • What type of strategic planning is needed for schools, local authorities, central ministries to address datafication?
  • How can European and international actors support better strategic planning at the level of schools, local authorities, and central ministries?

In this session, we have focused on the strategic planning process and emphasized the need to involve stakeholders, including children and their families, from the early stages of strategic planning so that their agency is respected and, thus their understanding and support is gained. Only through this can data serve as a tool to improve education instead of exploiting the users. European and international actors can make recommendations and provide support in providing a methodology that allows strategic planning as a co-creation effort with the involvement of stakeholders. The group conversation outcomes were presented in plenary.

We were delighted to take part in this conversation and will contribute further collaborating with European Schoolnet. We will continue to advocate for the full respect of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child, thus giving agency to children and their families in education and all matters concerning them.

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