Short-range phone sensors and campus-wide WiFi networks are empowering colleges across the United States to track hundreds of thousands of students more precisely than ever before.
Dozens of schools now use such technology to monitor students’ academic performance, track attendance, analyze their conduct or assess their mental health.
Many worry that the tracking technology will infantilize students in the very place where they’re expected to grow into adults, further training them to see surveillance as a normal part of living, whether they like it or not.
School and company officials call location monitoring a powerful booster for student success: If they know more about where students are going, they argue, they can intervene before problems arise.
Some schools go even further, using systems that calculate personalized “risk scores” based on factors such as whether the student is going to the library enough.