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Robotics Research
Posted on May 29, 2018

Artificial intelligence in schools

A high school in Hangzhou, China, Hangzhou No. 11 High School, is using facial recognition technology to analyze the behavior of students in the classroom, and to keep a record of their attendance, reports Beijing News. Using the "intelligent classroom behavior management system" incorporates a facial recognition camera that scans the classroom every 30 seconds that recognises six types of student behaviour: reading, writing, hand raising, standing up, listening to the teacher, and leaning on the desk. The system also records the students' facial expressions of the students and notes if they are happy, upset, angry, fearful or disgusted. The information collected by system is analyzed and reported to teachers so they can better supervise the performance of their students.
 
Zhang Guanchao, the school's vice principal, explained that the system only collects and analyzes the results of the facial recognition analysis, without saving the images themselves and that privacy was considered in the design of the system, saying "Data collection and application focus on behavior management of the entire class rather than any individuals." He emphasized that the system is connected to a local server, not to a cloud server, in order to prevent unauthorized access to the data. Zhang Guanchao said system can help teachers rethink their teaching method using statistical data, as well as cut the time needed to check class attendance to only a few seconds.
 
Hangzhou No. 11 High School started using facial recognition technology last year, when it introduced it for students buying lunch in the canteen. It has since been extended into many areas of school life. For example, facial recognition is used to pay for purchases at the school shop and to borrow books from the school library.
 
Schools in China are also investigating the use of artificial intelligence to grade homework. Around 60,000 schools are testing the technology to discover whether robots can grade homework as well as humans. The AI technology is designed to judge an essay according to its writing style and structure, as well as how well it sticks to a given topic. Researchers say it's meant to make grading fairer and more accurate.
 
A government document claims the algorithm and a human grader gave the same score more than 90% of the time. But schools and teachers interviewed said there were many instances where an excellent essay was given a low score. One user, who ran a Washington Post commentary through the software, said the piece scored 71.5 out of 100 for its "rich and appropriate" use of vocabulary. But it apparently needed improvement in flow and focus.
 
Scientists in the China project say their technology isn't intended to replace human teachers, but it can potentially help students living in remote areas where access to educational resources is limited.
 
China aims to become an AI world leader by 2030.
 
Sources: Peoples Daily
Top image: University of Iowa
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