A school in Paris will be the first to implement a system that studies the faces of students who study remotely using their webcam. The goal is to use artificial intelligence to determine how engaged students are - basically if they are listening or not.
It's easy to be creeped out by this sort of thing, but it sounds like the motives here are somewhat positive, and the system itself might eventually help learn entirely new ways of teaching and maintaining student engagement.
The system, called Nestor, detects eye movements and facial expressions to determine if students are paying attention. The lectures are delivered via video, which is why the lecturer isn't able to see if the students are listening or not. The system can use the data collected to create quizzes that test information learned when the student didn't appear that engaged. The idea is also that the whole thing will help teachers learn when they're being bores too.
The company claims that it won't store the video data from student's webcams. It also claims that it's not about selling the results to other businesses either and the data would be encrypted and anonymised.
The ultimate goal here is to make distance-learning work when apparently it currently doesn't. Having access to sources of education that aren't physically close to you could be a really important step forward in bringing high levels of education to more people. [Via: The Verge]
Image: LCA iLearning