Posted by: crudbasher | May 31, 2011

Watching the Student

We are entering an age where technology will provide capabilities faster than we can determine the social ramifications. In the past, technologies such as the telephone, television and computer entered society slowly, thus allowing it to be integrated with our lives. It also allowed some thought on the best uses and limits to be determined. There are many upcoming technologies though that can be misused, and I am concered that we are not able to keep up as a society.

For example, traffic light cameras. These are a camera that watches for red light runners at intersections. It takes a picture and the computer automatically issues a fine for the violator. It was sold to the public as a way to improve safety but in fact, most studies show it actually increases the number of rear end collisions as people slam on the brakes. It really is more of a revenue source by the government.

More recently, the US government decreed that every car sold shall have a box recording all information about where the car has gone and how fast, etc… For now that information won’t be sent to anyone but how long will that last?

I’ve linked below to a new technology that I am sure will make its way into schools and online education. Basically it uses a camera on a TV to watch how the viewers are reacting to the programming being shown. Potentially it will allow the TV to suggest other shows to the viewers based on their interest in certain topics. It will also allow advertisers to gauge the effectiveness of their ads.

One of the big problems in online education is the lack of feedback the teacher gets from their students during online sessions. In a classroom you can see the faces and can therefore gage their interest level but you can’t online easily. This technology would help with that. Just about every laptop sold these days has a camera so why not use it for that?

There are a raft of privacy issues that need to be addressed here. With this technology though, the instructor won’t actually be seeing the student directly, they would just get feedback as to the mood and interest. Perhaps this level of indirection could permit this to be used as a learning tool?

Any thoughts?

  • A double edged technology

    tags: technology education camera

    • Japan based NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL) is testing an interface which observes TV viewers, determines their interest and provides information related to the TV program in accordance with the way they are watching it.
    • The viewer’s interest is determined by observing his face, facial expression and motion. For eg – if the viewer’s expression does not change for a brief period, then he may be concentrating on the program. At the moment the differences are derived by comparing to the normal state but it is also possible to ascertain if the viewer is happy or angry.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. This is a really good post. It brings about the question is it helpful or harmful we have a similar post you can check out but I feel as if we came to the same conclusion

  2. […] May 31st 2011, I wrote a blog post called Watching the Student. In it I said […]

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