Over the summer The New York Times published a piece about how Google is “taking over” classrooms. The article discusses how Google is taking a significant step to transform the philosophy behind public education, emphasizing skills such as collaboration and problem-solving over rote-learning. The article also raised criticisms about Google’s purposes, signalling that it may not be working purely in the public’s best interest but helping to create future users who depend on Google.
The article understandably sparked discussion in the digital world of educators. In higher education in particular, the article was met with some push-back. Inside Higher Education published pieces noting that Google has faced slow adoption rates in college classrooms and warned that services like Google Classrooms (now open to all college instructors) cannot replace traditional Learning Management tools–the most well-known being Blackboard.
All this raises interesting questions for those who wish to engage their students digitally. As Social Mediums, issues of data security and ownership are a significant part of our on-going discussions of how to use social media responsibly in education. Is it better to have students using Google Classroom, making use of applications like Google Docs, or using a service like the CUNY Commons, making use of applications like Social Paper? Is it foolish to think students aren’t already using Google or are there reasons for showing that different platforms open you to different considerations about who can use your work, see it, plug it into an algorithm, etc.?
— The Social Mediums