Well, this is undoubtedly an exciting trial; teachers are wearing body cameras in the classroom. Body camera use is a fascinating issue especially when you look at the benefits of having it versus the debate on data protection. Body cameras will be a hot topic going forward and will be very interesting to see the outcomes of the trial that is currently taking place.
The two schools that are taking part in the trial are wearing the police-style body cameras to try and stop pupil disruption. The test will take place over three months and will take place in state secondary schools. The cameras are worn by all the teachers and will be visible, so there will be nothing covert about the filming.
The camera will not be on all the time but will be activated to capture footage of specific incidents where the teacher feels there is a threat to themselves or another student. The scheme is not only being used to control bad behaviour. The project could also be used to film positive events as well, with permission of course and according to Tom Ellis from the University of Plymouth.
The Times Educational Supplement recently surveyed 600 teachers about body cameras with 37% said they would wear them, with the main reason given would be evidence of student behaviour. But 62.3% were not so keen on the idea, the main concerns of these ranged from their privacy, being spied on by management and the confidentiality of pupils.
Although it seems like a good use of the technology and may help to improve some student behaviour, the flip-side with privacy especially with children could open a massive can of worms. So, for now, I would like to say many more schools are taking part in the trial, so we have a much better sample of data. The jury is out on this one from my perspective, I see some positives and negatives, and it may need to depend on each establishments’ individual needs.