The importance of identity verification in education technology (EdTech) must be stressed as technology and learning become increasingly intertwined. New technologies are constantly being integrated further into the student experience. These devices as well as online platforms hold important student information and are often connected to the school system’s databases, making it an information security concern Digital identity verification is pivotal in preserving authentic results and enhancing data security. This guide will delve into the EdTech sector and explore what’s at stake and how proper verification features can protect schools and students.
What is Digital Identity Verification?
Digital identity verification goes beyond traditional authentication methods like passwords and PINs. It uses tools like biometrics and multi-factor authentication (MFA) to establish user identities with a high degree of certainty.
It does this by first creating a distinct digital identity profile for every user. These profiles are built from several stored attributes ranging from associated email addresses to retinal information. Users aren’t granted access unless they validate information matching what’s in the system.
Digital identity verification is utilized in private and professional settings to protect sensitive data and devices. However, in EdTech, this process isn’t just about preserving information security. It also allows administrators and teachers to accurately track student activities and maintain an honest, educational environment.
Examples of Digital Identity Verification in EdTech
With digital identity verification, students would authenticate with their phone or fingerprint to access test-taking software. The program would create a unique session linked to the student’s digital profile for the exam.
Other use cases include using biometrics to measure attendance or track library resource checkouts. These measures deter students from using technology in dishonest or irresponsible ways, as their actions can be accurately traced back to them.
EdTech digital identity verification will generally fall under one of these three categories:
- Biometric Verification: This method uses unique physical or behavioral characteristics for authentication. This can include fingerprints, facial identification, and voice recognition. Fingerprints are most common in EdTech and are a quick and easy way to authenticate if implemented correctly.
- Multi-Factor Authentication: MFA adds layers of security by requiring users to provide multiple forms of identification. Forms of proof can be linked to phone numbers, emails, or applications like Google Authenticator.
- Blockchain Verification: Blockchain verification requires confirmation from multiple nodes before approving verification. It offers much more transparency than other options on this list, which keep users’ digital identities hidden. Most importantly, data breaches are nearly impossible because the blockchain is separated from the central system.
The Importance of Identity Verification in EdTech
The role of identity verification in EdTech cannot be overstated and only becomes more important in discussions around higher education.
Maintaining Academic Integrity
In most cases, organizations using digital identity verification mostly try to keep out criminals. They work within a user vs. criminal paradigm. However, EdTech has a unique situation in which registered users (students) sometimes work together to cheat.
This scenario is what makes digital identity verification so powerful for EdTech. It blocks off standard methods for cheating and plagiarism, a task that’s become increasingly complex with the proliferation of online education.
The transition to hybrid or fully online teaching and examination creates several avenues for abuse. Unprohibited communication among students and impersonation cases are two of the biggest worries for educators, and password authentication does little to deter these actions.
One solution for these problems is through continuous identity verification through behavioral patterns. A user’s digital identity can include certain behavioral traits such as mouse movement or keystroke patterns. This allows the software to continuously confirm the identity of the person interacting with it.
Enhancing Student Data Security
It’s not a surprise that kids know a lot about technology these days. However, that knowledge doesn’t always translate into consistent practice. A 2021 study by the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) revealed a substantial gap between children’s understanding of password etiquette and the actual strength of their passwords.
Similar results are seen in teenage and adult-focused studies, with the subjects using simple or easily guessed passwords. This is a concerning trend for schools that heavily rely on passwords for device security and store personal information like birth dates, contact information, and social security numbers.
Digital identity verification protects personal information by ensuring only the intended individual can access the device. So, even if a criminal guesses a user’s login credentials, they won’t get the access necessary to initiate an attack.
Implementing Digital Identity Verification in EdTech Platforms
To reap the benefits of digital identity verification, educators must have the proper infrastructure and hardware to support the technology. Doing so involves various steps and comes with its own set of challenges and solutions.
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are software platforms that manage, deliver, and track educational content and resources. They’ve become integral to school systems’ teaching policies due to their extensive capabilities, such as content management, progress tracking, and customizable course delivery.
Combining digital identity verification with LMSs is crucial in keeping out unauthorized users. Otherwise, this all-in-one system could lead to far-reaching schemes of student abuse and data theft by criminals.
Steps for Integrating Identity Verification in LMS
Integrating an identity verification infrastructure into an LMS starts by understanding where you want to put it. Assess the sections of the LMS that benefit most from more substantial authentication factors and choose the appropriate method for it, whether that’s biometrics, MFA, or knowledge-based questions.
Next, enroll users by collecting and verifying the necessary data to create their digital identities. While compiling this data, it’s a good idea to start educating teachers and administrators on introducing these new practices.
Throughout this entire process, administrators must pay special attention to regional laws and regulations, particularly surrounding biometric data. However, if these changes are rolled out as part of a massive new initiative, it’s likely these concerns have already been addressed.
The Role of Artificial Intelligence
AI is set to shake up the future of identity verification in EdTech. AI dramatically increases the accuracy of biometrics when authenticating students in real time during online exams or lectures.
The most innovative section of AI in biometrics is through voice recognition. AI-powered voice recognition can verify users based on stored patterns, which prevents users from disguising a stand-in through webcam techniques or clothing.
AI can also analyze documents, like submitted projects and papers, and compare them against a student’s past work. This process is known as predictive analysis and can identify potential signs of cheating and plagiarism.
Protect Your Classroom with Digital Identity Verification When Possible
Digital identity verification is a critical protection against the rapidly evolving landscape of digital education. It protects your digital privacy and academic integrity while providing a non-invasive means of identification.
As the EdTech sector continues to grow and adapt, the role of digital identity verification grows with it. The classrooms we grew up in will become a relic of the past, and educators must discover new ways to keep students accountable, productive, and safe.