Scientists at the University of Carlos III, Madrid (UC3M), have created an augmented reality-based teaching system which is capable of providing student feedback via intelligent glasses worn by a professor conducting a lecture, while the lecture is still in progress.
The proposed system, Augmented Lecture Feedback System (ALFs), allows the professor to gauge the level of students understanding by wearing glasses that enable viewing symbols above each student's head which indicate broadly whether the student is following what is being taught or not.
“These symbols are activated by the students via their cell phones and are used to tell the professor that they don’t understand the explanation, or that they have understood it, to ask the professor to go more slowly, or to say whether or not they know the answer to the question that the professor has just asked the class,” explained Telmo Zarraonandia, researcher, UC3M’s Interactive Systems Group.
The aim of the system is to improve communication between students and professors during large lecture classes like those usually held at universities.
Wearing the glasses enables the professor to be alerted to what a student wishes to communicate, simply by seeing a symbol above their head.
Also, in the upper part of the glasses, the system can display a diagram with the aggregate of answers given by the students, which can be particularly useful in large groups. The result is a novel way for students to communicate that enables them to be in contact with the professor both immediately and privately, and without interrupting the class.
This has the obvious benefit of helping “overcome the problems of timidity or fear of speaking in front of the class that some students have”, said Ignacio Aedo, a Computer Science professor.
Receiving greater feedback continuously allows the professor to “adapt the class based on student knowledge and understanding, giving extra examples, varying the rhythm or skipping those parts of the lesson that the students indicate that they already know or remember”, continued Aedo.
The architecture of the system comprises mainly of a server where the system is installed, and which the students connect their cell phones to in order to select their chosen symbols. The professor wears a pair of augmented reality glasses, such as future Google glasses.
The researchers in this particular project developed a system controlled by gestures, captured with a Microsoft Kinect. By using gestures, the professor then selected the support slide for an explanation or activated predetermined questions.