Posted by: crudbasher | August 19, 2013

Tech To Keep Students On Task

John Hammond: I don’t think you’re giving us our due credit. Our scientists have done things which nobody’s ever done before…

Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

Jurassic Park

(H/T Kona's Korner)

(H/T Kona’s Korner)

As a society we are at the point where technology is advancing faster than the evolution of social norms to govern it’s usage. For example, the NSA is spying on every US Citizen, which is of dubious legality. Their approach right now seems to be to see what they can get away with. They think that eventually everyone will got bored and go back to their American Idol. Technically it is the job of Congress to monitor them and reign them in but I have very little faith in them to even understand what is going on, much less be able to do something about it. Some of them have been in Congress for over 40 years.

In schools, we are now able to deploy surveillance technology to monitor what is going on in the classrooms, and to watch every move students make on their computers. How much further will we go?

There is a company called Mindflash that has come out with a product called FocusAssist that uses the built in camera on a laptop or tablet to watch the student’s eyes and see if their attention is wandering. (H/T Gizmodo)

FocusAssist uses the iPad’s camera to track user eye movements. If users look away or close their eyes for more than a few seconds, the video pauses until they look back. Is it passive aggressive enough to work? The service might be creepy and invasive except that Mindflash says they don’t release individual data about which users were focused watchers and which required reinforcement. That way employers can’t hold boredom against people. So that’s cool. But yeah actually it’s definitely still creepy and invasive.

Apparently right now they are targeting corporate training but how long till it comes to schools?

Right now they are taking steps to protect privacy but where do you draw the line? What if a student is writing racist things on their social media sites on a school provided computer? Does the school have the right to monitor that? What if the student is web browsing for instructions on building explosives? Should the school monitor that? Keep in mind the public school system is part of the government. Governments always want more control. Throughout recorded history the natural evolution of government is toward tyranny. Technology is providing tyrants with tools for control like never before. Ok back to the topic. đŸ™‚

So we are raising a generation of children who’s very brains are developing in such a way to handle a vast intake of stimulus every moment at the expense of the ability to focus. Then we are going to force them to look at the screen and do just one thing… and you think they hate school now?

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. – Edmund Burke


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