This article focuses on the top 6 educational applications of biometric technology, which schools and other educational institutions can benefit from.
Educational institutes face unique challenges regarding identification, authentication, access control, and security. They have to keep track of students and staff timing while ensuring their security within the campus. A significant amount of time can be eaten up by the daily operations if they are not streamlined. Unlike most other organizations, schools and educational institutions can be more vulnerable to security incidents as they may have a large group of children and underage students who may not be able to respond to a security incident properly.
Repetitive incidents of violence at educational institutions have also made administrators rethink the security and access control at educational facilities. Security, however, is not the only challenge educational facilities have to address, there are several other operational challenges such as registrations, student attendance management, access control, scheduling, etc. that these institutions have to face on a daily basis.
Technology has always been a way to streamline productivity and educational institutions have been leveraging it to improve operational efficiency and address the challenges. Biometrics is one of the emerging technologies in identity management as well as access control space. Biometrics offers a technology-based completely automated approach to identifying individuals or verifying their identity. This technology is particularly helpful in applications where a moderate to high level of confidence in identity verification is required. Here is a summary of the applications of biometric technology educational institutions can benefit from.
1. Student registration
Biometric technology in schools and other educational institutions can be used for student registration instead of biographic data of the students. Using biographic details of the students for registration is a time-consuming process whenever there is a need to fetch a student record. Different pieces of information have to be verified to make sure that there is no error in fetching the record as there can be more than one student with similar data fields.
Using biometric identifiers of the students (such as fingerprint, facial geometry, etc.) will lead to more accuracy in student registrations and diminish errors while fetching their records. Once a student is registered on the institution’s system with his/her biometrics, this information can be used across the institution for biometric attendance, access control, and ensuring security in a well-integrated environment.
2. Student attendance management
From pen and paper to computer software, schools may use several methods to keep track of the attendance of the students as well as the staff members. However, when it comes to the security and accuracy of attendance data, no other approach seems to outperform biometric attendance in schools and educational institutions. Manual paper-based collection of attendance data may seem cheap (and somewhat easy), but educational institutions have to pay the price when it comes to compiling this data, which becomes a tedious task and requires long manual efforts.
Biometric attendance in school, as well as other educational institutions, can completely replace paper-based and other student attendance management approaches with seamless and automated systems.
Biometric attendance systems have already become a synonym for attendance management in many small to large-scale organizations and institutions. From the administrators of large corporations to financial institutions and banks, biometric technology is used for access control, employee attendance, security, and many other applications.
Many institutions across the globe have started to use biometric technology for student attendance management, for example, the University of Sunderland London Campus and Delhi University in India have been using biometric attendance.
Security has been the hot topic revolving around schools and educational institutions lately. Given the vulnerability of children and underage students, they can more vulnerable to security incidents. Not only that, even higher education institutes such as colleges and universities have witnessed many security incidents including gun violence.
Schools attract a large number of visitors on a daily basis, which can also pose a security threat if they are not screened properly.
Educational facilities can use fingerprint registration of visitors to ensure the security of students and staff members. Many organizations and workplaces use this approach for improving their visitor management practices.
A school information management system with a comprehensive visitor management module can also help pose your school as a high-tech facility.
Educational institutions, especially colleges and universities can also be vulnerable to cyber attacks as they not only store a large amount of personal information but also data about ongoing research work and projects. Using biometrics in education systems instead of passwords / PINs allows educational institutions to fight cybercriminals that can take undue advantage of weak or guessable passwords. PINs / Passwords-based credentials can be shared among students, which can also lead to compromised security of the institutional IT network.
4. Biometric ID for different facilities
In educational institutions, there are several facilities and sub-sections where students may require to carry a dedicated card or slip, such as to issue books from the library, enter different labs, get subsidized meals in the cafeteria, enter exams halls, etc. Biometrics in education can work as a universal ID that students do not even need to carry.
Librarians make use of library cards to keep track of books, issuances, and submissions. Managing libraries and books become more and more complicated as the numbers of students grow. A biometric-based system can help educational institutions to replace this otherwise slow and tedious manual library management system. A library system with biometric integration can keep track of all the books issues to students and due for submissions. When a book is issued or submitted, a student verifies his/her identity with a biometric scan and the system can make an entry.
Similarly, students can perform a biometric scan to pay for meals at the cafeteria, verify identity at examination halls, etc.
5. Access control
Schools are always in grave need of a reliable access control mechanism that can selectively permit authorized access seekers and stop potential intruders who can pose threat to the school security. Biometric-based access control checks all the boxes of access control requirements in educational institutions as it can automatically let authorized individuals in and deny access to unauthorized ones, without any supervision. For example, students may be allowed to access the library, labs, activity area, etc. but not the administrative sections.
Access control implemented with facial recognition can keep track of students across sections, activities, and school/college facilities and help school/college administrators to improve supervision.
It is not just the students that can benefit from biometrics in education, but also the staff members can be assigned access rights for particular sections.
6. Student engagement
Apart from traditional attendance, identification, and access control applications, biometrics can help educational institutions to improve student engagement in academics as well as other activities. Face recognition with emotional state sensing can help track the emotional and cognitive state of students.
For example, an overhead camera in the classroom, which is equipped with facial recognition and emotional and cognitive state sensing ability, can help ascertain the attentiveness of the students. That is not all; advanced algorithms can even measure the level of attention students pay towards a lecture/activity. This precious behavioural data can help educational institutions to improve their delivery system.
Facial recognition can also keep track of students in different activities and sports. There is also a biometric modality called gait recognition, which is used in sports at a professional level to improve the performance of sportspersons.
There are several ways educational institutions can address their operational challenges, for example, student attendance management can be done with paper-based methods as well as using attendance software. However, when it comes to accuracy, reliability, and efficiency, no student attendance management approach seems to beat biometrics.
Numerous educational institutions around the globe have been already using biometric technology for different applications, however, there are still many that are yet to take up the trend. The one unparalleled advantage that biometrics in school offers is that this single technology can be used to address many challenges.
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After working at Bayometric for nearly a decade, Tanvir has a good understanding of what it takes to ensure the security of a business. He likes to cover newsworthy events related to public safety, mass surveillance, cloud communication, cyber security, and BYOD. His articles give insights into the latest trends in the biometrics and identity management industry.