Digital Surveillance in the Networked Classroom

  • Valerie Steeves
  • Priscilla Regan
  • Leslie Regan Shade


This chapter examines the ways in which digital surveillance has disrupted experiences of, and relationships between, students and teachers in the networked classroom. We then explore the impact of what Zuboff calls ‘surveillance capitalism’ on schools, through the lens of two emerging trends: the use of commercial software to police students on social media and the collection of students’ personal information by educational software companies. We argue that the current escalation of big data programmes and analytics in schools for the purposes of tracking academic progress and for monitoring their social media communication to ensure safety creates an unnecessary incursion into student’s lives that threatens their rights, as well as those of parents and teachers.



We are grateful to the Social Science Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for their funding of the eQuality Partnership Grant (see and the Big Data Surveillance Project (see

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Steeves
    • 1
  • Priscilla Regan
    • 2
  • Leslie Regan Shade
    • 3
  1. 1.University of OttawaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

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