Over the weekend an editorial in The Boston Herald critiqued the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant to fund bracelets to be used in classrooms in order to study student participation:
Competent teachers know when students are paying attention. Signals from the bracelet, according to the text of the Clemson grant, can only indicate the strength of such states as “excitement, attention or anxiety” down to “boredom or relaxation.”
If third-grader Jim is trying to poke third-grader John with his pencil when the teacher isn’t looking; that’ll register excitement. If fourth-grader Joan is absorbed by Paul Revere’s ride; her bracelet shows relaxation or boredom. If tenth-grader Jack sits next to a hottie; what do you think his bracelet registers?
This deserves a prize for hare-brained scheme of the year. Any teacher will tell that to the Gates people if asked.