You Are the Product

The New York Times profiled Google's rush into education over the last eight years in a long piece this weekend. Some initial thoughts:

  • The value behind the "Innovative Educator" title is completely created by Google. There is no value other than the fact that a company says it has value.
  • Skills in a platform - even a cloud platform - are important, but not removed from the content students are supposed to be learning.
  • If you don't pay for it, you are the product being sold. Even if advertising isn't targeted to students in GSuite, when you roll that data into a consumer account, it's all there, ripe for auction.
  • The marketization of education is pervasive and can erode the purpose of education: the holistic growth of students in all areas. Allowing companies like Google (among others) to direct what "good education" looks like is dangerous.

be careful what you buy into. Everything Google has done over the last decade in education is not altruistic. There is a company mission which drives all decisions and being aware of how those impact users is important.

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