Weekly News Roundup 11th September

This week’s news looks at new research into screen time and academic performance. We also consider Facebook’s venture into education and an investigation into children’s online privacy and data protection.

Research investigates the relationship between screen time and academic performance

A report published by the University of Cambridge finds that UK teenagers who spend more time watching television or using mobile devices and computers outside of school will perform worse in their GCSE exams than their peers. The study tracked 845 14 to 15 year olds, monitoring their use of technology and time spent on schoolwork outside school. Results have found that students who spend an extra hour or two on homework perform better in exams but those who spend four hours or more do not perform as well as might be expected. Students who spend more time on screens however perform worse, even if they also spend time on schoolwork. The study has been criticised however, notably by Professor Mark Griffiths at Nottingham Trent University. Professor Griffiths argues that while the study finds a correlation between GCSE grades and screen time, it does not show a causal link or investigate the nature of the interaction between the two further.

Read more

Concerns over websites collecting and sharing children’s data

The Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data protection agency, has taken part in an international investigation into how websites and apps collect and use data from children under 13. The investigation was organised by the Global Privacy Enforcement Network and looked at nearly 1,500 websites and apps popular with young people. This included 50 UK-based websites. Results found that half of all the websites shared children’s data with third parties and one in five websites asked for phone numbers and pictures. Overall, the investigation reported concern about 41% of the websites investigated. More than two in three websites collected email addresses and passed these on to third parties. The investigation has not identified the names of the websites but these will be contacted and notified of any concerns.

Facebook launches educational software

Facebook this week launched its first educational product in the US. The Personalised Learning Plan software has been designed in partnership with the non-profit Summit Public Schools, which has developed a teaching method that allows students to learn online and be mentored in class by their teachers. The software is designed to allow students to learn at their own pace and in ways that best support their individual needs. The approach is similar to flipped learning in that it lets content be delivered online while classroom time is reserved for “teacher-led real-world projects and collaborations“, according to Facebook. The education project will be completely separate from the social network and Facebook is implementing strict data protection policies to protect students’ privacy.

Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *