Microsoft bigwig Bill Gates wants to fit school students with mood bracelets in order to see how interested they are in their lessons.
The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is spending 1.1 million dollars for testing testing galvanic skin response bracelets to see if they can measure whether students find their teachers engaging, the Daily Mail reported.
AdvertisementThe move is a part of the 56-year-old billionaire's mission to evaluate and improve the quality of teachers, which has already included controversial initiatives such as fitting the classrooms with video cameras.
The gadgets measure how well the skin conducts electricity, which varies with its moisture level.
Sweat glands are controlled by the nervous system so skin conductance can be used to indicate emotional response.
Some US teachers and commentators have been less than impressed with this plan.
"Why would anybody spent money on this when some school systems can't afford to pay their electric bills?" Education blogger Valerie Strauss wrote in the Washington Post.
"The obsession with measurement in data and school reform has reached nutty new heights," Strauss added.
Teacher Anthony Cody, wrote in 'Education Week', "The wonderful thing about having human beings as teachers is that we are naturally empathetic. We do not need galvanic skin sensors to detect when our students are drowsy or disinterested-we can look around the room in an instant and know!"
Others have pointed out the limitations with the bracelets, including that they are not able to tell whether a student is responding to their teacher or to something a friend whispering in their ear.
The bracelets are also so far unable to differentiate whether a heightened response is due to excitement or anxiety, or whether a drop in response is due to relaxation or boredom.