Ethical Challenges in the Use of Iot in Education: On the Path to Personalization

Cecília Cristina Dos Reis Tomás
Laboratory of Distance Education and eLearning (LE@D), Universidade Aberta

António Moreira Teixeira
Laboratory of Distance Education and eLearning (LE@D), Universidade Aberta


In the research on the ethical challenges related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the personalisation of the learning process, four key categories have been identified: Security, Privacy, Automation, and Interaction. Based on this framework, using Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT), we’ve conducted a study with twenty one actors in the field which have reflected on the advantages, risks and challenges, creating and developing theoretical solutions from technological, pedagogical, and ethical-philosophical perspectives. Coupled with the challenge of interoperability on IoT highways, the educational process generates disadvantages associated with access, use, monitoring and ownership of data, as well as standardization that falls under “profiling” rather than personalization. This leads to problems like exclusion, redundancy of the human being in education through its homogenization and determinism that leads to a loss of sense of freedom, control and choice. The consequence is surveillance associated with corporativism and the loss of the notion of the Common Good in general and in the education in particular. In this paper we discuss how IoT, algorithms and Artificial Intelligence (AI) linked to automation falls within the profiling; and whether more artisanal solutions linked to human language, communication and the relationship that enhance collaboration among multitudes, lead to a stigmeric learning enhancing a personalization of proximity. In this way we are invited to think of a symbiosis between the human being and the machine without the threat of its control, but with the openness and access in education as advantages, the expansion of interaction and communication enhanced by automated processes in pursuit of personalization, distinguishing the cost from the value of data, the value of collective data from the value of personal data among other challenges. In the paper we suggest the idea of a new social contract, whose ethical dimension necessarily rests on the value of the Common Good associated with justice, equity, equality and inclusion.

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.