I opened the following email and at first I thought it was a prank or, as another reader put it, an article taken from The Onion. See what you think:
From: Leonie Haimson
To: nyceducationnews ; paa news
Sent: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 10:08 am
Subject: [nyceducationnews] Gates Foundation: one more step into the dystopian future with electronic bracelets for students & teachers
Gates Foundation experimenting w/Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets in teacher eval project
See Susan Ohanian, excerpt below:
Look up “effective teaching” on Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants. Here’s one of the awards.
To: Clemson University
Purpose: to work with members of the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) team to measure engagement physiologically with Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets which will determine the feasibility and utility of using such devices regularly in schools with students and teachers [emphasis added]
Think about that!!
NOTE: The emerging field of neuromarketing relies on biometric technologies to determine a participant’s emotional and cognitive response to certain stimuli. In the case of neuromarketing, this stimulus is anything from a television commercial to an internet advertisement. There are six primary biometrics used to gather data on physiological responses to marketing…
So Gates wants to apply it to effective teaching.
The Affectiva Q Sensor is a wearable, wireless biosensor that measures emotional arousal via skin conductance, a form of electrodermal activity that grows higher during states such as excitement, attention or anxiety and lower during states such as boredom or relaxation.
Here’s a paper on the topic: MobiCon: Mobile Context Monitoring Platform for Sensor-Rich Dynamic Environments
Smart mobile devices will be the central gateway for
personal services in the emerging pervasive environment
(Figure 1). They will enable a lot of personal context-aware
applications, forming a personal sensor network with a
number of diverse sensor devices, placed over human body
or in surrounding spaces. Diverse sensors act as the useful
tool for the applications to acquire users’ contexts1 , i.e.,
current status of an individual or surrounding situation that
she/he faces into, without their intervention .
Wikipedia says neuromarketing is a new field of marketing research that studies consumers’ sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. So the Gates Foundation joins Google, CB S, and Frito-Lay in looking for ways to measure consumer reactions to products.
Put a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelet on every kid in the class and you can measure teacher effectiveness in keeping their attention.
Maybe the next step is for the bracelet to zap them with electric current when their attention wanders.
And then the next generation will be the Galvanic Skin Response bracelet on every teacher–to zap her when she veers from the Common Core curriculum. Then. . . bring on the drones to eliminate such teachers.
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
I needed A reality check, so I googled “galvanic skin response” and added “Clemson.” up popped the following link:
Date: November 2011
Purpose: to work with members of the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) team to measure engagement physiologically with Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets which will determine the feasibility and utility of using such devices regularly in schools with students and teachers
Term: 1 year and 2 months
Topic: College-Ready Education
Region Served: Global, North America
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Clemson, South Carolina
Grantee Web site: http://www.clemson.edu
What can I say? Shades of Brave New World.
Which district will be first to put the bracelets on their students and teachers? Will charter school students have to wear them, or only children in public schools? Who will pay for them? Will schools raise money by selling the data to Amazon and Google and other data-mining corporations? Have we lost all common sense?