06 SES 09, Digital Learning Spaces: Hopes and Risks
Schoolchildren are among the most heavily surveilled groups in society. Due to a rapid technological development, new possibilities for digital monitoring of students’ learning and behavior have been introduced. Software with surveillance capabilities are common in many European schools today, such as SchoolSoft or Fronter, offering improved communications between students, teachers, the home and the school and better quality. Surveillance technology is also now increasingly being used to counteract problems such as bullying, school fires and vandalism. In fact, the use of various technologies, such as surveillance cameras, has mushroomed in schools over the past fifteen years. All these aspects are designed to increase goal fulfilment in school and improve the overall educational environment. However, concerns have been raised about the invasion of people’s privacy, for example if information relating to results, behaviour and performance is used for purposes other than those intended. Andreasson and Dovemark (2013) show software surveillance for school use shape students’ and staff identities by their role in governing processes and activities as they affect teachers’ educational judgments about content and other educational practices in a way that can be viewed as de-professionalizing. Surveillance theories can help us to understand the factors that shape educational settings and the impact they have on young people’s connections and relationships in such settings. Important dimensions of such an impact are privacy issues and the fortification of schools (Taylor, 2013). This presentation outlines the functions, arguments for and risks of four different types of surveillance, using the framework of Hope (2015): vidéosurveillance, dataveillance, biometric surveillance and material detection. Hope describes vidéosurveillance as CCTV cameras, networked video surveillance software and webcams and the potential use of webcams in smartphones and tablets. Dataveillance means the surveillance of electronic data for the purpose of monitoring someone’s communications or (in)actions, which includes things like monitoring students’ grades and cafeteria purchases and checking for plagiarism in students’ texts. According to Hope, biometric surveillance is used to identify individuals on the basis of their physical or behavioural characteristics, which includes iris scanners and software for facial recognition. Material detection devices are used to track individuals by means of embedded transmitters, or for detecting weapons or drugs (Hope, 2015). Using a case study from a Swedish school, and the software Outlook 365 as example, the type of surveillance categorized as dataveillance, and its implications in use, is illustrated.
Andreasson, I., & Dovemark, M. (2013). Transforming Insecurity into a Commodity: using the digital tools Unikum and InfoMentor as an example in Swedish education. European Educational Research Journal, 12(4), 480-491. Hope, A. (2015). Governmentality and the ‘selling’ of school surveillance devices. The Sociological Review, 63(4), 840-857. Taylor, E. (2013). Surveillance Schools: Security, Discipline and Control in Contemporary Education. Hampshire, England: Palgrave Macmillan.
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