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Friday, June 15, 2018

Digital Student IDs Are Here

It was just a matter of time before colleges and universities started offering students the choice of digital identification cards. Apple is taking a big step to move the process forward, rolling out a digital student ID initiative to begin in the fall at Duke University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Oklahoma, and at Johns Hopkins University, Santa Clara University, and Temple University by the end of the calendar year.

The ID cards will use the same near-field communications chip used for Apple Pay and will be available on newer iPhones and the Apple Watch. Phil Hill, an edtech consultant and blogger, views digital student IDs as a way for schools to better serve their students and for Apple to sell more watches.

“The bigger play here for Apple is about the watch, with the iPhone thrown in as a backwards compatibility and ensuring a usable program for students who have far more iPhones than watches,” Hill told EdSurge.

Some worry the initiative might be seen as discriminatory since students who don’t have an Apple device won’t be able to participate. Colleges and universities will also need to create guidelines for tracking the information the IDs will collect on students.

“This fits into [the] overall trend of ‘Trojan Horse’ technology that is designed for one purpose, but has data collection as part of its platform,” said Avi Chelsa, founder and CEO of empow cybersecurity. “Universities are becoming more and more data-driven, using data to track behaviors and derive insights in the same way that hotels, airports, and other institutions are.”

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