EdTech K-12: How to Combat Notebook Theft

(1-Nov-2011) Providing inner-city students with portable computers can make them attractive targets for crime.

That's the problem that Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) officials faced as they worked to improve tech­nology access for the California district's 40,000 students.

Fortunately for Oakland and other districts both urban and suburban, effective theft-deterrence solutions — including physical etchings, tracking software and insurance — abound. "While commercial enterprises generally concern themselves more with the loss of data, for educational enterprises, the biggest risk of loss is the device itself," says James Quin, lead research analyst for Ontario-based Info-Tech Research Group.

Although device loss was a concern in Oakland, the devastating consequences of inadvertently creating crime victims loomed even larger. "We didn't want our kids to suffer from an attack, or even live in fear of an attack, just because they were carrying a computer back and forth to school," explains Ann Kruze, a district instructional technologist.

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