CBC Spark

Notable talking points:

  • Analyzing multi-national tech giant Google usage in classrooms
  • Riaz, a Victoria father, has a daughter in SD61; he works in online safety for BC gov, got double sided consent form for use of GAFE, realized if they say no, his daughters at a disadvantage. He spoke with teacher to find alternative, there is not one that takes place of GAFE.
  • Johnathon Rochelle: Director of product management for GAFE
    • Started as offering to companies, then decided to give to schools for free
    • Serious effort to address educators needs in the classroom
    • Includes calendar, mail, sheets, slides; Google Classroom makes it easier for teacher-student collaboration and feedback, includes roster and communicating tools
    • GAFE tools good for learning cause they represent important aspects of what students should learn (21st century learning); teaching in relevant way to workplace: digitally. Natural for them for future.
    • GAFE focuses on collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
    • GAFE account does not include YouTube as a GAFE account product, no targeting advertising, no tracking for advertising, educators can limit videos to create a safe search. Search data and ads collected from regular Google Drive users, but GAFE users not used for this.
    • Screen time worries addressed: quality of time in front of screen is what matters. If a student is spending lots of time in front of screens but learning and reading news, that’s good!
    • Its free: they don’t make money off GAFE. Revenue comes from Chromebook managing, which they charge for. They aim to introduce Google apps to kids young and hope they will want to keep using them as adults.
    • Purpose to introduce to them what they think is the best collaboration programs, and can continue to use them in the workplace in the right, most productive, modern way (so basically it’s great exposure).
  • Microsoft and Apple makes comparable package but no where near as popular.
  • GAFE launched in 2006, dramatic increase of use in the past 5 years.
  • Google has trainers that provide ‘boot camps’ for teachers to be Level 1 and 2 Google Educators in person or online, teachers can get certification and become a GAFE trainer.
  • GAFE tools allows more opportunity for learning, not just limited to field trips and guest speakers: Hangouts allow live chats with people around the world.
  • Use of personal data: consent form gives school and Google permission to store data outside of Canada. Consent says parents are aware of info being stored out of Canada and that other laws apply, so Riaz did not sign. Canada Freedom of Information Act (FOIPA) disallows storage if info outside of Canada, unless you give permission or consent to bypass that piece of law. Since its all stored in the states, it falls under the US Patriot Act, which is not as strict at FOIPA.
  • Riaz is worried if a breach occurs or laws change in the future, what may happen to his daughters information: emails and docs paint a digital profile of the student that can be released.
  • Assuming GAFE isn’t selling for advertising, data, what is GAFE hoping to get in return? “If you’re not paying for it, you’re the product” is the common rhetoric, but it isn’t known what they’re gaining other than exposure of products; even if they’re not selling data, hacks and breaches can occur and data can fall into the wrong hands someday.
  • Currently no alternate is being offered from SD61, so students opting out are at a disadvantage (consent form says there is, but Riaz has asked and told nothing yet).
  • Google consent forms is letting them know the terms and to act responsibly knowing them.
  • David Fraser (Halifax), Privacy Lawyer Interview:
  • Focusing on privacy crossing borders is creating a hysteria rhetoric, US Patriot Act being brought up lots as its not as strong as FOIPA; cross border transaction dialogue around cloud computing has been blown up and a distraction from a balanced conversation; US govt can only access the data if they have warrants and search orders; children need to be exposed to cloud storage to move forward with the world and the technology that will be used in the workforce; students info simply not an interest to big brother, he doesn’t have concern about student privacy,
  • Concerned parents need to look at privacy policy, not patriot act, and make their own decisions, not to be sucked into the hysteria rhetoric that is occurring around Google and online privacy; policy is readable/comprehensible.
  • “It isnt about there being no risks, but deciding how much risk you are willing to take” – David Fraser


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