Giving Compass' Take:

• Tony Wan reports that educations at SXSW EDU discussed the security, surveillance, and privacy concerns presented by edtech. 

• How can funders help to develop edtech that help students without taking advantage of their data? 

• Learn about student data privacy concerns


A study by Northeastern University researchers suggests that schools are safer than they were in the 1990’s. But headlines about cyberbullying and school shootings have communities understandably on edge. One in three parents surveyed in a 2018 PDK Poll say they feared for their students’ safety—nearly three times the percentage in 2013.

With safeguarding students’ online and physical safety as a top priority, schools are leaning on a variety of digital services. Many use web filtering tools that blacklist unsavory websites and monitor what students write and search for online. Others track behavior and disciplinary issues. And a few have started adding facial recognition technology to security cameras.

Yet as schools adopt technologies that can collect and monitor data in unprecedented ways, questions have emerged over how far surveillance should go—and whether educators, parents and students are aware of the implications and possible consequences. Specifically, how should schools strike a balance between what’s needed to ensure students’ safety, and how to protect their privacy?

That was the guiding question for a panel discussion at SXSW EDU, where privacy advocates joined a school administrator and a school safety software product manager to offer their perspectives.

Navigating that fine line between ensuring security and privacy is especially tricky, as it concerns newer surveillance technologies available to schools. Last year, RealNetworks, a Seattle-based company, offered its facial recognition software to schools, and a few have pioneered the tool.

Read the full article about security, surveillance, and privacy by Tony Wan at EdSurge.