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IOE Blog


Expert opinion from IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society


Biometrics in schools – Big Brother technology or an opportunity for human flourishing?

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 11 October 2021

Sandra Leaton Gray.

Twenty-first Century schools can be complex places to manage and attend. Schools have grown in size substantially over the last couple of generations, and now need complicated systems of control and regulation. The Biometrics Institute Congress is going to be discussing biometrics, artificial intelligence and privacy on 13 October, and for the first time this will include their impact on education.

One of the primary issues for governing bodies and local education authorities is reconciling a need for bureaucratic efficiency whilst acting in loco parentis – ensuring that the children in their care are where they should be, engaged in appropriate activities at the right time, and being fed at appropriate intervals. Developers have sought to support schools (and monetise solutions to any number of management problems) through digital products, for example for attendance monitoring, assessment, accounting and auditing.

It is within this commercial framework that we find biometrics proliferating, and with it, associated (more…)

Don’t let your cookies leave a trail of crumbs for someone else: why you should care about digital data privacy

By Blog Editor, IOE Digital, on 12 July 2018

Kim Nguyen and Romasha Sanyal
Ever thought about how when you use the fingerprint sensor on your Android, you’re actually just uploading a digital print of your biometrics? Or that your Facebook news feed isn’t just confirming what you believe about the sugar tax, but actually shaping it based on prior political activity (be it memes liked, pages visited or blog posts shared)? Or even that the first page of your Google search results is different from what your fellow Candy Crush-devoted tube commuter might find for an identical string of keywords?
Data privacy might have hogged the limelight in recent times because of the ubiquitous GDPR that purged subscribers’ mailing lists nationwide, not to mention the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but not nearly enough is discussed with respect to how it affects the group most vulnerable to its invasion – children. Enter defenddigitalme, an organisation led by Jen Persson, which has been working steadfastly since 2013 to spread awareness regarding the collection of data on school children for the National Pupil Database by the Department for Education. With their recent #MyRecordsMyRights campaign, their mission is not only to raise awareness (more…)