Gates Foundation Grants $1 Million for Bracelets to Measure Kids’ Attention Span

Tuesday, 12 Jun 2012 05:03 PM

By Robert Willis

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The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is spending about $1.1 million in grants to develop bracelets that will physiologically measure students levels of attention in their classrooms, the Washington Post says in a blog.

The development of and experimentation with the bracelets is part of the foundation’s Measuring Effective Teachers project that is experimenting with teacher evaluation systems in seven school districts nationwide, according to the Post. Millions of dollars have gone into these evaluation experiments, which have included the use of standardized test scores to assess teachers and the questionable videotaping of instructors.

One grant for nearly $500,000 was awarded to Clemson University in November to "work with members of the Measuring Effective Teachers (MET) team to measure engagement physiologically with Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) bracelets which will determine the feasibility and utility of using such devices regularly in schools with students and teachers,’’ according to the description of the grant.

The other, for more than $620,000 given to the National Center on Time and Learning, was to "to measure engagement physiologically with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Galvanic Skin Response to determine correlations between each measure and develop a scale that differentiates different degrees or levels of engagement."


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