Eyes to the front – Classroom software concept

WARNING: This is a horrible idea for a use of technology. It completely dehumanizes pupils. It was an abstract idea and is left here for historical purposes. Since I wrote this some companies have begun developing this tool, these companies should be ashamed of themselves and read this to begin walking their path of enlightenment

Eyes to the front is a development piece of software that rewards pupils for paying attention in class when the teacher is speaking.

Teachers click the “Eyes to the front” button and pupils are displayed eyes and ears on the classroom display (IWB/LCD/plasma etc). ¬†Webcams are used to detect pupil eye activity and facial recognition is used to reward experience points to pupils who are quickest to respond and continue to pay attention.

6 thoughts on “Eyes to the front – Classroom software concept

  1. Full marks for an interesting and innovative idea, just a few negative points,though, John.
    just because a child is looking in a particular direction, doesn’t mean they’re paying attention; you know the phrase ‘Lights on but nobody home’
    The face recognition technology is not without its flaws viz reports that some webcams can’t recognise black faces; inadvertant racism?
    Finally, isn’t this exactly the type of teaching we’re trying to remove from the profession .. the sage on the stage approach?
    I think this type of approach would have to be utilised very carefuilly, somewhat selectively and only with justification.

  2. Great idea and I’m sure it would have its uses during some parts of the teaching day. But, and this is through experience, whenever children see themselves on screen, especially an IWB, they will dance, make faces, wave and play up. Even adults too. So, as a tool it would have some uses but it’s difficult to see how these could create a ‘stable’ never mind rewarding classroom environment.

  3. They wouldn’t actually see themselves on the screen, just their name would pop up if they are set to be rewarded Experience points for paying attention

  4. Using names would be better but it leaves the argument that Doug has pointed out that children will focus on the screen to gain recognition and rewards but not necessarily to learn. To note – I could see many children starting to complain that they have not being rewarded due to someone else being in the way.
    A few other questions.
    How many webcams would be required to capture the class?
    How accurate is the recognition software?

  5. I agree with Doug.

    Seems like a case of using an overly complicated system to address an issue that is esaily resolved by any good, or even bad, teacher.

    No matter how many eyes are looking towards the front, it will not change the fact the teacher could be spouting a load of rubbish.

    I have a feeling that the most intelligent pupils will soon figure out how to maximise their score through winks and squints.

    Might be useful as a tool to analyse how teachers hold the attention their class though…

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