Emotion-aware teaching software tracks students

Came across this interesting little article over at NewScientist.com. The basic idea is that students wear rings fitted with sensors that monitor heart rate, blood pressure and changes in electrical resistance caused by perspiration, which it then transmits to a computer that assesses the wearer’s emotional state – and judges whether they are interested and keeping up or bored and struggling.

I’m not too sure about this, whilst there is commonality in terms of the biological responses the body generates in all of us the extent to which these manifest vary from individual to individual so I’m not sure how accurate the system is going to be in widespread use. Reciprocally if it was accurate then what would the social implications be of a technology that could assess our emotional state and take remedial action?

2 thoughts on “Emotion-aware teaching software tracks students

  1. Irrespective of the technical feasibility, what horrifies most about this is the increasing blur between the private and the public in today’s society, as the state and other authorities encroach further into our lives.
    I react in the same way to discussions around emotional intelligence in the workplace. It seems it’s no longer enough to work hard and produce sufficient output, we have to be coerced into being happy as well!!

  2. Sarah,
    I share your concerns about the state/authorities encroaching further into our lives, not because I don’t think that technologies can help but because of the ease with which technologies such as these are open to abuse.

    With reference to Emotional Intelligence, I take a slightly different view. I’m in favour of anything that helps me to better understand myself, it largely stems from the simple premise that I think I still have a lot to learn about myself and the world around me. For me it is very important these days that I am happy not only about myself but every facet of my life and that includes my work. After experiencing some of the things I have over the last couple of years I can’t help but feel that life is far too short to not be doing something I am truly happy with.

    I know that people are often resistant towards Emotional Intelligence and other similar quotients for trying to determine how well you get on with other people within the workplace because they are seen, not un-reasonably, as a form of social engineering. These things makes us feel uncomfortable because we feel like were being placed under a microscope and examined, and I think its incumbent upon people advocating these methodologies or approaches to try to ensure that people are comfortable before proceeding.

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