RFID

Slashdot reports that a Doncaster school (it’s actually fairly close to mine) is trialling embedding RFID chips in school uniforms to track pupils. Now whilst there are legitimate uses for this – for example in the case of a fire and if a child went missing on the way to/home from school, I don’t think this is a positive step.

Apart from the obvious swapping jumpers/blazers technique, it’s perhaps a case of using technology for its own sake There’s great potential for allowing environments to become personalised to the user, but is being used for tracking. I’d love to teach in a school where the classroom to which I went automatically configured the technology, lighting, etc. for me. But I’m a teacher; I’ve chosen to be at the school and could work elsewhere. We’re talking about pupils here – those too young to vote and, despite recent moves, without a say in the whole educational process.

I’m also concerned about some school libraries using fingerprints instead of cards to issue books. Yes, it’s quick and convenient, but it wouldn’t take much for the government to have a database of everyone’s biometric data. People, and children included, have a right to not be continually tracked and monitored, I believe. Technology can be a powerful force in education, but it should not be introduced without checks and balances.

What do you think?