Friday, June 9, 2017

Scholarchip IDs: Convenience but at what cost? – Wrench in the Gears

Scholarchip IDs: Convenience but at what cost? – Wrench in the Gears:

Scholarchip IDs: Convenience but at what cost?


I’m grateful to the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools for keeping tabs on the Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission’s monthly meeting agendas. They recently alerted me to a resolution about student ID cards, that in turn started me thinking about ubiquitous computing, digital classrooms as nodes within Smart Cities, and the role big data, payment systems, public-private partnerships, and Blockchain ledger-based finance could play in Ed Reform 2.0.
The SRC passed the Philadelphia School District’s 2017-18 budget last month, and the upcoming meeting on June 15 is packed with resolutionsfor new contracted services. Among these is a 5-year, $6.5 million contract with Scholarchip, the company that manages the district’s student ID and automated attendance system. Philadelphia is transitioning to a new student information system, Infinite Campus. A perfect name for the learning ecosystem age; no need to restrict learning to schools when the entire city can be your “campus.” One reason the district gave for deciding to extend Scholarchip’s contract was their use of smart card technology.
“The School District has maintained a good pulse on the state of the relatively limited market space for student identification card systems, having conducted previous RFP solicitations in 2005 and 2011. Many of the solutions available utilize radio frequency identification (RFID) as opposed to smart card technology. As a card technology platform, smart cards differentiate themselves by allowing data to be programmed and modified directly on the card itself, thus permitting greater functionality and flexibility such as use with fare systems (i.e. SEPTA), storing lunch money or fee balances, and documenting student health conditions or restrictions. Under this contract, ScholarChip would continue to implement its kiosk station architecture at school building points of entry/egress, and would utilize its cloud-based service to manage and administer kiosks, control access, collect/maintain data, and provide a web-based administrative interface to the system.” See page 51 of the June 15, 2017 School Reform Commission Public Meeting Proposed Resolutions.
I admit to having concerns about “smart” technology. My husband anxiously awaited the roll out of SEPTA’s smart card system, but I find myself reluctant to give up on tokens, which though inconvenient to Scholarchip IDs: Convenience but at what cost? – Wrench in the Gears:

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