WRITTEN ON August 24th, 2010 BY William Heath AND STORED IN Uncategorized

A rational approach to personal-data logistics in education would not simply rely on centrally held databses. It would also build on the individual’s personal portable education record.

Like other services, education needs an online bridge between the individual and the service provider. But to date we’ve only built the organisation’s end of the bridge.

The learner needs to be equipped with this from the first moment they deal with educational organisations in the outside world. It would be unambiguously under the learner’s control. Their parents would use it to appy for school places. It would store educational achievements and qualifications. As the learner grows up and takes responsibility for their own affairs they would take charge of their own digital, personal, portable education record and use it for university and job applications.

It wouldn’t just be a record of your reports and GCSEs though. It would also have any other experience the learner deemed suitable and relevant. Since it’s personal, not institutional, it would integrate across other aspects of your life. It would then help support your search for jobs, or for education or training. A small subset of it would morph into your living CV which you might choose to broadcast pseudonymously with those seeking employees or to share as a whole when applying for a specific job.

There’s a noble intention behind every existing and planned central educaitonal database whether it’s the National Pupil Database, the Learner Registration Database with its unique 10-digit reference numbers, school censuses, the centrally-held Learner Record or related databases on attendance, obesity or predicting child offenders. There are probably many more – glad to hear of them.

But taken together, without any structured participation on the side of the individual, they’re ineffective, a waste of money, probably unlawful, disempowering and intrusive.

The noble Managing Information Across Partners (MIAP) rhetoric about each learner being in control of their own record is perfectly achievable, but that’s not what MIPA does. Better actually to see the individual in local control of their data, their record of achievement and their destiny, offering them third-party validation of claims (such as exam results or degrees) and helping them to accumulate trust. The qualification issuing authorities need to concentrate on issuing digital certificates to individuals who present themselves suitable verified online.

Let’s stop pretending that a series of interconnected central databases can respond to the infinite variety of people’s lifelong learning needs. Let’s start to equip people with personal portable education records as part of their wider personal data store. Let’s stand by to receive structured information from people’s personal portable education records. And let’s offer them online authentication and verification of their education-related claims.
For a more detailed understanding about organisational implications of this see Ctrl-Shift
For one platform which makes this possible see Mydex
Disclaimer: I work for both Ctrl-Shift and Mydex.

Comments are closed.