With things like Smart Boards and connected lecterns becoming commonplace in classrooms at almost all levels, the way teachers work continues to evolve rapidly as technology continues to advance. China is taking it to another level, though, using a system called "Smart Eyes" that employs cameras and facial recognition to give a teacher real-time feedback on students.
I remember the first time I ever felt old was when I was teaching a calculus course. The first day of class, a technician came in and began turning on eight televisions mounted around the room. I asked him what he was doing and he told me he was setting the smart system, where students could watch me from anywhere in the room and I could present interactive math content. I launched into a "get off my lawn" tirade and chased him out of the room. The real question is: how mad would I have been had he installed the "Smart Eyes" system being tested in China right now?
Hangzhou Number 11 High School in the Zhejiang Province has been testing the system, which uses cameras and facial recognition software to provide teachers with real-time data on a student's mood, which is categorized in seven ways, ranging from "antipathy" to "happy." The idea that with time-linked data on a student's engagement, teachers can analyze exactly where children became bored or lost interest in a lesson or teaching method and modify their teaching accordingly. It's a very interesting idea that could go a lot of ways depending on the final iteration of the tech and how teachers and students embrace it.
Lead image by 祝 鹤槐, used under Creative Commons.