It isn’t only about data protection when it comes to the full range of digital rights. Digital rights are human rights and the school environment is a special one because it involves children and families who are disempowered and whose needs are not all the same.
Legislation is needed to better manage the relationship of rules and rights between institutions and individuals. An Education and Digital Rights Act can change our course, steering away from exploitation and creating a sustainable environment in support of the national data strategy— the government must act with urgency to make a difference to nearly 9 million children in school today and for the rest of their lives, and the 700,000 who start school each year.
That future sustainability is both a question of digital and analogue practice. Our digital footprint has a carbon footprint and the toxic waste from excessive data use is seen in discarded school hardware and high energy needs. Data misuse is also metaphorically polluting debate and the hopes the government has of using data as fuel for the economy. Both have real-world consequences for the amount of support young people give the government on the use of personal data about them.
We are shaping how the landscape is seen, how the narratives are spoken, and changing the knowledge, capacity and skills in the digital landscape. Our research and reports should contribute to these aims.