Analyze eye movement to improve teaching

Creating educational material according to what interests each student and organizing everything according to their way of learning could become possible thanks to neuroscience.

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Creating educational material according to what interests each student and organizing everything according to their way of learning could become possible thanks to neuroscience.

In the field of neuroscience, there is increasing interest in monitoring eye movements. For several reasons, the education community is also interested. What are the possible outcomes for teaching and learning? What are the issues? What ethical aspects are raised? Overview.

What is eye movement analysis and monitoring?

Recent advances in neuroscience mean that it is now to obtain valuable data by analyzing the movements of an individual's eyes. How is it possible?

Specialized devices, like glasses and fixed readers with different sensors, recognize an individual's eye movements. Data thus makes it possible to know exactly where a person is looking, how long their gaze has focused on a particular object or what they have not looked at at all. In scientific jargon, this practice is called eye analysis and tracking (eye tracking). Data on what has been watched, what has not been watched and for how long, in turn, provides insight into where an individual's attention or distraction has been.

To better understand, watch this video which shows an example of the eye analysis and monitoring process in education.

Possible uses in education

Through eye tracking, it would be possible to know what a student looked at when he read the lecture notes. Did his gaze mainly focus on images? Was his attention directed primarily to the text at the top of the page? This would allow a teacher or an educational material designer to know, in terms of content, what interests learners and, in terms of container, how to organize the information and presentation.

It is especially in the field of adapted teaching and in learning disabilities that the repercussions are likely to be the most important. The information from eye analysis and monitoring allows, again by way of example, get accurate information about how a student reads suffers from dyslexia and the obstacles it encounters. This could lead to new methods of treatment and teaching. By making it possible to measure students' attention, this technology could also have important impacts for the detection and treatment of attention deficit disorders.

Issues and ethical aspects

The development of eye analysis and monitoring and its entry into the field of education raises major issues, many of which are ethical. One of them is to do rely too heavily on teaching and learning data from neuroscience. In the same vein, another issue concerns privacy and the use of biometric data.

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About the Author

Dominic Leblanc
Dominic leblanc
A graduate in sociology, Dominic Leblanc is an educational advisor in the Programs and Educational Development Department of the Cégep régional de Lanaudière in L'Assomption.

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