Bracelets to measure student engagement

MOODY MEAUREMENTS: The Gates Foundation also has reportedly dished out $1.1 million in grants to university researchers to test "engagement pedometers." It's starting with a biometric bracelet, developed by Mass.-based startup Affectiva Inc. The bracelet sends a small current across the skin; changes in electrical charges supposedly signal whether kids are tuned in (or zoning out) during class. Skeptics abound. The Washington Post' Valerie Strauss pointed to the grants as a sign "the obsession with measurement and data in school reform has reached new nutty heights." We don't think anyone needed engagement pedometers to assess how people at the University of Virginia feel about losing school president, Teresa Sullivan. Affectiva has done pilot tests to measure consumer response to advertisements and plans to wait until kids return to school this fall to run tests in classrooms. The Gates Foundation says these bracelets won't be part of its ongoing teacher evaluation studies.

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