Well, this is certainly an interesting trial, teachers wearing body cameras in the classroom. This is a very interesting issue especially when you look at the benefits of having it versus the debate on data protection. This 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 trial will take place over a three-month period and will be located in state secondary schools. The cameras will be worn by all the teachers and will be clearly 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 scheme 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 the 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 own privacy, being spied on by management and the privacy 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 huge can of worms. So, for now, I would like to say many more schools taking part in the trial so we have a much better sample of data. The jury is out on this one from my personal perspective, I see some positives and negatives and it may need to be decided on each establishments’ individual needs.