SensorStar Labs are a company that want to take classroom engagement to the next level with a system that uses facial recognition to find out just how interested a child is in the current lesson. The EngageSense system would bring Big Brother to the classroom, with a camera for every child in the room that records their levels of interest throughout the day.
Still in the research and development phase, webcams are used to record the various eye movements and expressions that cross a student’s face, which when combined with audio and algorithms can give a rough readout of how engaged students were throughout the class. Erratic eye movements, frowns, and confused looks are all signs that a teacher is losing the interest of their class.
The idea behind the tool is that it will give teachers a way to gauge when interest was highest during the class, giving them a way to spot highs and lows throughout a particular class.
SensorStar Labs co-founder Sean Montgomery talked about the possibilities with FastCoDesign:
By looking at maybe just a couple of high points and a couple of low points, you get enough takeaway that the next day you can try to do more of the good stuff and less of the less-good stuff.
The company is still looking for funding and partners that would be willing to trial the technology, especially with concerns about data privacy being a hot-topic issue these days. Montgomery talked about one idea that would involve granting permission to the system as you would with a typical smartphone app. Before any of that happens though, the system has to through some more refinement and prove that it can actually improve engagement levels in the classroom.