Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Perceptive Computers and Educational Technology

Adaptive software capable of "theory of the mind" intelligence was the topic of a recent keynot at the International Society for Technology in Education. As reported in Education Week, the keynote by molecular biologist John Medina proposed applications that could "be capable of involuntarily detecting student confusion, determining what the student's learning gap is and adjusting instruction accordingly. This could be done both by analyzing student work in a program, but also by computer recognition of facial expressions and physical behaviors."

Medina also questioned the ethical or cultural implications of such technology where the computer could detect whether a student is bewildered or inspired, or if an individual has innate ability for things like teaching. Self-paced learning and comparable technologies are already under development in the digital course materials space, and adaptive learning is almost certain to be an important part of the digital learning landscape by the end of this decade. The question, Medina posed, is whether the use of such technology could be used to harm as much as help students in the future.

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