How do we know when students and children are truly engaged during their work or daily tasks? Is there a way to learn about engaging factors, repetition in learning patterns, or complete loss of interest? Can we gauge what they’re learning without an invasive form of observation and interrogation?
These are just a couple of questions I often ask myself when considering the way in which interaction and attention plays a role within our educational atmosphere, and everyday lives.
When it comes to developmental studies of children K-12 or even students in college, it’s no easy task to understand what each individual is taking from their studies or interactive work. There have been many clinical trials which require wiring up individuals and watching for changes in brain EEG signals. Similarly, while this may be a great way to test for current engagement and pinpoint moments when interest or new discoveries take place. It is not the best testing grounds due to the increased anxiety or nerves brought on by foreign objects on your person.
Instead, what if we use the age old human giveaway…facial expression and gestured movement. We reveal more than we may think by simply changing our expressions, twiddling our thumbs, or moving our bodies. By taking the time observe and record data on varying gestures, reactions, and so on.
Our goal is to use non-invasive tracking devices such as an Xbox Kinect in order to map varying gestures and learn more about what features, objects, and concepts keep us engaged. Not only will such data help us develop better products, but teach us how to properly engage and teach with efficiency and greater success.