June 17, 2013
Intelligent Glasses Give Professors Real-Time Student Feedback
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
A new pair of glasses aims to give professors real-time feedback from their students as they teach.
Scientists at la Universidad Carlos III of Madrid (UC3M) reported in the British Journal of Educational Technology that they developed intelligent glasses that enable professors to see notes or comments on the contents of a lesson to help them better understand whether students are having difficulties with what is being taught. The researchers are developing the system to help improve communication between students and professors during large lecture classes.
The glasses work by displaying symbols above each student that represents their state while the activity is taking place.
“These symbols are activated by the students via their cell phones and are used to tell the professor that they don´t understand the explanation, or that they have understood it, to ask the professor to go more slowly, or to say whether or not they know the answer to the question that the professor has just asked the class,” explains one of the researchers from UC3M´s Grupo de Sistemas Interactivos (Interactive Systems Group), Telmo Zarraonandia.
Professors will be able to simply look at the symbol a student has displayed over their head in order to determine how best to communicate with them. The system also provides a new way for professors to be in contact with students both immediately and privately, and without interrupting the rest of the classroom.
“The channel that we´ve created will help overcome the problems of timidity or fear of speaking in front of the class that some students have," explained Ignacio Aedo, a tenured professor in UC3M´s Computer Science department.
“The hope is that this system will make for more effective lecture classes, because receiving greater feedback, continuously, will allow the professor to adapt the class based on the students´ actual knowledge and understanding, giving extra examples, varying the rhythm or skipping those parts of the lesson that the students indicate that they already know or remember."
The prototypes for the intelligent glasses are controlled by gestures, which are captured using Microsoft´s Kinect system. These gestures allow professors to select the support slide for an explanation, or activate predetermined questions to which the students respond by displaying a variety of symbols they select using their phones. College professors will be able to use the system to visualize notes or comments that they do not want to forget to mention at specific moments.
“Because of their ability to display information on the user´s field of vision, these devices have the potential to change the way in which we carry out many of our daily tasks, as well as offering many interesting possibilities from a research point of view,” said Zarraonandia
The glasses have similarities to a prototype device Google is currently working on, which shipped out to a few lucky people this spring. Google Glass uses a five-megapixel camera and a "high-resolution" display to interact with the wearer. Essentially, the glasses give users some of the same abilities found in an Android smartphone, but without the need to take out a phone to interact.