ERIC Number: EJ780987
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Tag! You're It!
T.H.E. Journal, v34 n11 p34-35 Nov 2007
This article describes the latest skirmish in the war between security and privacy concerns that is escalating as technological advances open up all sorts of new possibilities for school districts, both for better and, if misused, for worse. Brittan Elementary School in Sutter, California, had the best intentions when it implemented a radio frequency identification (RFID) program nearly three years ago. More efficient attendance-keeping and better security were the promise of InClass, a software program from InCom. The system creates unique 15-digit ID numbers that are written on individual tags and associated with the name of the student to whom each tag is issued. At Brittan, the tags were included with the badges that students were required to wear around their necks, which provided the student's name, grade, and picture. As they passed by scanners mounted above the doorways of seventh- and eighth-grade classrooms and the cafeteria bathroom, their ID numbers would be read, recorded, and sent to a central server. The system would collect the tag data, convert the numbers into names, upload a list of present, absent, and tardy students to teachers' PDAs. Teachers could then check their attendance lists to reconcile what the lists said with what they saw in their classrooms. Once confirmed, the lists were submitted wirelessly via the PDAs to school administrators, who were required to file attendance records with the state board of education. Well meaning as the effort may have been, parents were outraged to find out that RFID technology was being used to allow the school to monitor the whereabouts of their children on campus. A group of them lodged a formal complaint with the board; subsequently, the project was halted.
Descriptors: Educational Technology, Classrooms, Technological Advancement, Computer Software, Attendance, Records (Forms), School Security
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California