‘Smart’ glasses for teachers help pupils learn

“Smart glasses” that give teachers detailed real-time information on how each student is learning can help pupils do better in class, according to a new study. Tes reports.

The research, published today at the London Festival of Learning, looked at the effect of teachers using special Lumilo glasses, which allow them to check individual performance during lessons, while simultaneously keeping an eye on the class.

It is the first experimental study which shows that pupils can learn more if the artificial intelligence of a maths tutoring programme, which provides students with step-by-step guidance and allows them to work at their own pace, is combined with support from human teachers.

The glasses also put up emoji-style symbols above students – to alert the teacher when pupils were struggling, when they were attempting to “game” the system or had simply stopped working for over two minutes. Teachers were then able to provide one-to-one support as needed.

“By alerting teachers in real-time to situations, the ITS [intelligent tutoring system] may be ill-suited to handle on its own. Lumilo facilitates a form of mutual support or co-orchestration between the human teacher and the AI tutor,” said Ken Holstein, lead author on the study, together with Bruce M. McLaren and Vincent Aleven.

The research focused on 286 middle-school students aged 10 to 13 and eight experienced teachers in four public schools in the US. The pupils were using Lynnette, an intelligent tutoring system for linear equations.

Tests taken by pupils before and after the lessons revealed they did better when teachers wore the smart glasses and learned most when teachers also had access to the analytics.

The researchers also found that having access to data through the glasses appeared to drive teachers’ time towards students of lower prior ability – narrowing the gap in learning between students who scored more highly before the tests and those with lower prior achievement.

Read more about the ‘smart glasses’ ‘Smart’ glasses for teachers help pupils learn

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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