How Google Took Over the Classroom


“Unlike Apple or Microsoft, which make money primarily by selling devices or software services, Google derives most of its revenue from online advertising — much of it targeted through sophisticated use of people’s data. Questions about how Google might use data gleaned from students’ online activities have dogged the company for years.

“Unless we know what is collected, why it is collected, how it is used and a review of it is possible, we can never understand with certainty how this information could be used to help or hurt a kid,” said Bill Fitzgerald of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy group, who vets the security and privacy of classroom apps.

Google declined to provide a breakdown of the exact details the company collects from student use of its services.”


The comments on this article, right on top of it, are interesting. Some people escape to Waldorf schools, some are sceptical about Google, many are dedicated. One mother is very enthousiast; she mentions that her daughter uses everything offered by Google and that “she also has an Android now.” So easy!
As a pedagogue I am concerned about the huge influence Google has on the curriculum. It is not only the tools, but also the fact that the use of tools influences what is thaught. What do the pupils learn? Predominantly walking algorithms, using the Google way of searching, storing, sharing. They think that they are confronted with truths, which is not true of course. Their brain development and memory will be limited, because they don’t have to practise and memorize by themselves anymore. No wonder that so many Americans think that North-Korea is somewhere in the US! They rely on Google Maps.
And their privacy, well there will not be any privacy anymore. Our very sceptical rebellious 92 years old niece in the US thinks that it is gone. I don’t agree. We should do everything to prevent becoming Google as our Great Educator.


Writing your own search engine based on random IP searches on common web ports (say 80 and 443, using something like the open source Massscan to allow initial harvesting of appropriate IPs) is enough to give an insight into the way Google and other search companies, many of whom now follow Google models in any case, shape our mental landscape. Quite apart from the slight hacker cred I got when I managed to accidentally take down the payment system in the pub I was in at the time (payment system attached to Wi-Fi and Massscan uses so many packets per second…), it’s been one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve had as a programmer, and has renewed my interest in algorithmic innovation (script kiddie cut and pasting always ends up replicating someone else’s thinking, by its very nature, and stifles innovation).