School Starts Using Facial Recognition To See When Students Aren’t Paying Attention

A business school in Paris will start using facial recognition technology, to make sure students are paying attention in class… Wave goodbye to those all-important lecture naps!

Named Nestor, this artificial intelligence software collects data through webcams that analyse eye movements & facial expressions. The underlying algorithm will then determine whether students are paying attention, and send notifications to the Professors as to when focus is waning.

And how does it maintain measurements of attentiveness? The software formulates quizzes surrounding moments of low focus. To someone who graduated a while ago, but works at a university - this is both fascinating tech and downright torturous to students.

The software taps into students’ individual calendars, to proactively suggest study times by tracking online behavioural patterns. Example - say you spend your weeknights binging online videos. Nestor could throw out suggestions that you spend the time studying instead. Basically, it can become the equivalent of your Mum’s constant nagging to do revision.

Lucky for students at the moment, this technology is limited to those who watch lectures remotely, but Marcel Saucet, LCA Learning Founder, hopes to launch an in-class version too. But for now, he claims Nestor will greatly improve student performance in Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short.

“The problem with MOOCs is that they don’t work. It’s been 10 years that we’re been trying e-learning, and in the US it’s been 25 years. And it doesn’t work.”

Cyber security issues shouldn’t be a bother, as Saucet confirmed Nestor won’t store any footage captured and all data is encrypted.

While this is already a big technological movement in the classroom, it’s a small step in what the UN’s World Council of Peoples (who hosted the event where Nestor was launched). While this isn’t actually a class taught by the software, the use of AI in the classroom is being actively pursued on the back of Nestor - creating a personalised tutor for every student.

But for now, this is just one slightly painful step (for students) towards this future.