The public discussion about control and ownership of data has centered on social media and search. This article makes the case that the use of data in education warrants special attention. Giving learners control over their data unlocks new possibilities for interoperability, innovation, and the democratization of development. User-owned data increases privacy and protects the education sector from falling into a ‘surveillance capitalism’ profit model that undermines democracy and may not align with learners’ needs. Effective AI-guided education will need to know the learner’s entire learning history. Whoever owns that data will gain even deeper insights into the learner’s mind than social media and search. Besides being used for advertising, those insights could be used to influence or manipulate the most impressionable members of society - youth. User-owned educational data lays the groundwork for powerful AI-guided education while maintaining transparency and learner autonomy.
User-owned data requires both technological and regulatory solutions. This paper examines the current technical options. This paper proposes a definition and description of user-owned data in the context of education and a practical implementation, ‘EduVault,’ a user-owned data wallet for educational apps.
This paper shows that the technology to give users private, personal cloud databases already exists but might not be mature enough for large-scale, mission-critical operations. The technologies that give users the most control are still developing but can already be used for smaller, less critical use cases.