PALMS FOR LUNCH & SATANIC CHIPS: USA Today alerts us to a novel palm-scanning technology that could replace ID cards--and lunch money. Currently students in over 50 school systems--especially Pinellas County Schools in Florida--are using palm scanners to pay for their lunches. Palm prints are unique. And it's so darn handy when kids forget their lunch money, exults a director of school lunch programs in Florida. (Just a few clicks and Mom can add money to the lunch account?)
Not everyone's a fan. It "anesthetizes young children to recognizing privacy violations later in life," declared one parent. (And we might add, doesn't encourage them to remember their lunches.) The devices, made by Fujitsu, seem to run around $400 apiece. That's a packed wheelbarrow full of school supplies.
In other bizzaro edtech-esque news, Texas Northside Independent School District, which has been in the spotlight for using microchips in ID badges to track students' movement on campus, was reportedly attacked by hackers over Thanksgiving weekend. Some speculate this may be related to its decision to suspend a student for refusing to wear the ID badge--although, strangely not for privacy issues, but "because it signifies Satan," according to Wired.