Thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, students may start wearing biometric devices known as “Q Sensors” to measure and evaluate their level of attention in the classroom. Using galvanic skin response (GSR), this technology can determine when students are emotionally stimulated. Some consider this the new frontier for measuring teacher and content effectiveness, but others are skeptical about the whole idea.
The company behind the technology is a Massachusetts-based startup called Affectiva. The devices have already been used in market research to determine consumer’s emotional response to various forms of advertising: education is the new frontier.
But many teachers are skeptical. People think it’s an invasive and “creepy” technology and, since GSR can’t tell the difference between fear, excitement, and sexual arousal, there’s absolutely no way it can properly identify when students are truly engaged with what is actually going on in the classroom or if they’re just distracted by the cute girl in front of them.
Still, the project could end up a success, and we’ll know soon. The Gates foundation has given $1.4 million dollars in grants to university researchers, who will begin testing in middle schools this fall.
What do you think? Is using biometric data intrusive and unnecessary or a revolutionary new field for education?