If you have been following the stories we have been posting on Digital Directions, you are well aware that a controversy continues to brew in the Lower Merion School District in Ardmore, Pa. because of the administration’s decision to equip school-owned laptops with software that periodically recorded photos from the computers’ webcam until the device was turned off without student or teacher knowledge. The software is designed to prevent theft or to track down stolen devices.
One sophomore and his parents have filed a federal lawsuit against the school district after the student was allegedly confronted by his assistant principal because of a photo snapped of him at his house holding Mike & Ike candy, which the assistant principal thought was drugs.
This story really points to the blurry ethical lines of technology in schools. Although the software was intended to prevent theft and was put on school-owned devices, having some of those laptops go home with the student makes the distinction between what happens at school and what happens at home less clear. Read more about the issue here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.