Facial recognition, a not-so-unfamiliar concept nowadays, is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the world. With its age and gender identification, emotion detection, people counting, and analytics capabilities, it has the potential to be used in more than just the security and financial services industries. In fact, FRT (Facial Recognition Technology) can be quite useful in education: namely, by creating a better in-class environment and enabling customized teaching programs leading to maximizing classroom performance.
FRT can help teachers monitor student understanding and adjust their styles of teaching.
While students’ inattentiveness—falling asleep, zoning out, or checking their cell phones—is often attributed to their own laziness or disinterest in the subject taught, they shouldn’t hold all of the blame. Such inattentiveness can also be the product of the teaching they receive. Several ways teachers can fuel this sense of boredom and inattentiveness include teaching too much information for students to process, inadvertently repeating previous topics, or simply teaching in the wrong style; whether students learn best from visual, auditory, or verbal teaching styles can make a huge difference. FRT, thus, can help teachers recognize different student emotions in class, measure their levels of interest, frustration, and comprehension, and use this information to adjust their styles accordingly. With FRT, teachers will be able to change their pace of instruction and tailor their classroom instruction to maximize students’ involvement and performance.
FRT can revolutionize the definition of “customized learning” by collecting and storing students’ emotions and other types of data.
Over the past few years, the term “customized learning” has become more and more widely used and implemented. Many sources claim that customized learning is the key to education reform, citing its ability to teach students “how” to think and tailor to each student’s specific needs and interests. Moreover, Huffington Post claims that customized learning—synonymous with a “School-As-A-Service” (SAAS) strategy—will make education more student-centered, competency-based, and dynamic than ever before. In short, customized learning/SAAS will revolutionize education as a whole, and we believe that FRT will play a significant role in bringing about this change.
First, FRT can help recognize, store, and analyze daily classroom behavior, gauging student interest and customizing teaching solutions around such interests. Second, FRT can inform instructors about subjects a particular student excels at or needs help with by keeping track of his or her stress levels and emotional trends. The instructors can, as a result, tailor classroom or practice material to either improve students’ academic weaknesses or build their strengths. Finally, FRT can improve study habits by recognizing and timing a particular student’s attention span. Instructors who have data about students’ attention spans could reinforce as much relevant material as possible before the students lose focus and use more interesting methods to lengthen their attention spans.
Note: We asked our summer interns to investigate the potential for FRT in education and present us with their findings and conclusions. We are very grateful to Hanping Li, a computer science student at the University of Nottingham, for detailing the significant impact of FRT through this thought-provoking article—the result of the perspectives he gleaned from both China and UK. We will be publishing the second article on this topic on Friday.