“With all of the technology in the classroom, what are we doing to protect our students from privacy concerns?” asked Jay Schulman, 39, a candidate for the District 97 Board of Education, during a recent interview with Wednesday Journal. The school board election will take place in April.
“So Google is an example. You need a Google ID or an Apple ID to log into the applications they’re giving to D97 kids. But what’s to prevent Google or Apple from using that information to start marketing to your kids and using that data in a way that is not in the best interests of the child,” he said.
Schulman referenced the recent digital privacy legislation proposed by the Obama administration that would attempt to address the same concerns the married father of two D97 students said he thinks about often.
“I’m a technologist, but I’m also very conservative,” said Schulman, who is an information security analyst by profession.
He said that, while he values the benefits of digital technology, he’s afraid that society may have reached a point of diminishing returns. The world, Schulman said, is full of screens and that may not necessarily be healthy for kids.
Schulman, who carried a pen and a notepad with him to the interview, advocated for a similar kind of regression to old fashioned methods of learning that might offset many of the potential harms that may accompany an over-digitized world. He said his recall is so much better when he writes things down.
“Computer? Nothing,” he said.
“There is a difference in retention, there’s a difference with how we learn based upon where I’m speaking it, typing it or reading it,” he said. “I could pull out the iPad with my stylus. I still don’t recognize it the same as I do with my pen and paper.”
Schulman said that D97 should complement its iPad- and computer-based learning with methods of learning that seem to have worked for generations.
“I’m certainly not for taking technology out of the classroom, but for using it judicially,” he said.
Schulman also chimed in what would certainly be among the most pressing issues coming his way if he’s elected to the board—the construction of the district’s new administrative building and the search for a new superintendent.
Echoing the board’s consensus, Schulman said that he’s in favor of allowing the process to play out in whatever time frame is best for selecting the right candidate. On the administration building, he said that, “in hindsight, knowing everything we know today, we probably could’ve made a better decision. There should be more discussions [and] we need to make sure we’re communicating.”