Imagine you're trying to explain a complicated subject to a group of students. Chances are everyone in that group is learning at a slightly different rate — even if they're all paying attention. At any moment what you're talking about could become difficult or just plain uninteresting to a whole bunch of them, and then all of a sudden, you feel like you're talking in an vacuum. Ah, the bliss of being a teacher.
Now imagine that at the very instant when the subject becomes either too complex or too boring for a particular member of your class, you receive a notification. You know whether you've lost the student entirely, or when they just need you to slow down a bit. And you know if it's just the one student, or half the class. That's the idea behind a new set of Augmented Reality (AR) specs in development at La Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, in Spain.
A teacher needs only strap on a pair of these AR glasses to receive real-time data on each student's understanding of the subject at hand. Icons, visible through the glasses, pop up above each student — almost as if each of them were a quest giver in a role-playing game.
Right now you might be wondering if these AR glasses have somehow hacked human consciousness or gotten ahold of some seriously advanced facial recognition software, both of which might be mildly terrifying in a classroom setting. Don't worry, though: nothing that advanced or invasive is actually going on here. The info that the AR glasses display is student generated. By downloading an app and logging into their classroom, students are able to send feedback to their professor quickly and quietly, without alerting their peers that they might be having difficulty keeping up.
That's a big plus for everybody involved. Teachers get tons of quick info on how well they're explaining the subject at hand, and students don't have to raise their hand and disrupt an entire lecture hall just because they missed something. The team behind the project hopes to continue refining their software until its ready for the big leagues — say, Google Glass for instance. The day is coming when teachers won't have to rely on excessive testing or parent-teacher meetings to see how students are handling their lessons. They'll instead be able to see it with a glance.