What is Wearable Technology?

Wearable technology refers to devices that can be worn by users, taking the form of an accessory such as jewelry, sunglasses, a backpack, or even actual items of clothing such as shoes or a jacket. The benefit of wearable technology is that it can conveniently integrate tools that track sleep, movement, location, social media. There are even new classes of devices that are seamlessly integrated with a user’s everyday life and movements. Google's “Project Glass” was one of the earliest examples, and enabled a user to see information about their surroundings displayed in front of them. Smart watches are becoming commonplace, allowing users to check emails and perform other productive tasks through a tiny interface. A rapidly growing category of wearable technology takes advantage of the burgeoning interest in the “quantified self.” The Jawbone UP and Fitbit bracelets are two examples that track how you eat, sleep, and move. Empowered by these insights, many individuals now rely on these technologies to improve their lifestyle and health. Today’s wearables not only track where a person goes, what they do, and how much time they spend doing it, but now what their aspirations are and when those can be accomplished.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best

- lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 6, 2015lisa The most thrilling aspect of wearable technology in the STEAM program is the fact that it appeals to girls. With kits like
http://sewelectric.org/ girls can create and work with Arduino and Lily Pad.
  • Lisa introduced me to the "E-Textiles" idea and it's got people at my school thinking! I've already got an electronics kit coming my way to see how we might make a class out of it, in addition to featuring it in our upcoming Makerspace. Come to think of it, Lisa helped me get my Google Glass, which is inspiring folks as well! Like 3D printing, Wearable Technology provides tangible examples of what would otherwise be abstract concepts. Talk all you want to about AR. Put a Google Glass on an administrator's head and tell her to ask where the nearest coffee shop is. You can almost see the light bulbs going on over their heads. That's the main reason stuff like this is relevant to what I'm doing right now. I'm demoing Fitbit to our Health teachers...when we can get everybody in class wearing a device that measures blood pressure or whatever, then the sky's the limit re: people using edtech. - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015 I'd make similar comments about the Fitbit on the Quantifiable Me page because the two things go together hand in hand. It's the wearable technology collecting personal data that provides the basis of the Quantifiable Me possibilities. Glad to hear that the E-textiles idea is taking off. Good work happening at U of Colorado in this area. - leslie.s.conery leslie.s.conery Feb 16, 2015
  • I think wearable technology will initially be the provence of early adopters in the primary and secondary schools I work with (at least for the next 2-3 years). Specific technologies are likely to be used for quite specific purposes - eg, smart watches might be used by early adopter PE educators to assist students to learn about the body through quantification. I don't see wearable technology gaining traction in a more general sense for some time to come - until particular examples are more broadly 'proven' in society. The Apple Watch has the best chance of achieving this in the next 1-2 years - because of the 'cool' factor (see below) and Apple's drive to commercialise innovation - which leads to broad social acceptance - people are introduced to solutions for problems they potentially didn't know even had.- dezuanni dezuanni Feb 13, 2015
  • Wearable technology is revolutionizing the 21st Century, especially in the education sector. There are different ways to use these type of technology in education which includes students documenting activities, record videos and student presentations for feedback and reflection, live field trips, note taking on Evernote Glassware, remote class for students at home, sick or remote, remote tutoring, etc. - dsilva dsilva Feb 16, 2015
  • I think this is arguably the most critical short-term technology trend. We have several wearables in the district, like Google Glass, and have some others ordered or budgeted for (like Apple Watches). Re: Google Glass: yes, you look like an idiot and the technology is flakey at best, but it won't be forever. We aren't far away from wearable (or, realistically, implantables), that are invisible to others and very accurate. What does that mean for instruction? I would argue its a good thing. Perhaps this will be the push that the sector needs to move completely away from memorization and into application.- shorr shorr Feb 18, 2015
  • I agree it is a short term trend. I think it will become part of everyday life very soon and no longer trend but part of your day. I would love to see use teacher our students how these devices work so they have an understanding of where this data is going and how it is being used and will be used. I think it has great potential for helping people to understand the choices they make on their life styles, health and fitness. - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • I think wearable technology is definitely short term. Although people seem always to remember Google Glass, watches and quantified self gadgets, not many people seem to remember the GoPro as wearable tech. What we have seen in classes and learning environments in general is the widespread revolution of first-person experiences through the lens of an adventure camera.- giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 23, 2015
  • A valuable tool for data collection, whether its the number of steps I take, my sleep patterns or heart rate. Another value is it is always on you and it can interface with my computer, smartphone and other devices. Certainly lots of application in health, physical education and sports. I find value with the interface to my smart phone and then connecting to other apps (steps app connects to calorie app). Could a wearable device also track time on phone, social media sites, websites visited regardless of device used, be used to push messages if not enough time spent on homework, identify if during study you get distracted???- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 23, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • I believe this is a sub category of mobile learning. They are portable digital devices. - crompton crompton Feb 5, 2015
  • - lisagustinelli lisagustinelli Feb 6, 2015lisaThe whole development of e-textiles(wearing the technology without it being an external device)http://advancedtextilessource.com/2014/09/e-textiles-and-the-future-of-wearable-technology/ - dsilva dsilva Feb 16, 2015

    Connections to wearable technologies being seamlessly integrated into our lives. (The latest Up3 also monitors heart rate etc as well)
  • How do we make these 'educational' wearable devices "COOL?" Once we create the 'swag component' for these learning devices/apps, we've got a new market...just an opinion. - michael.lambert michael.lambert Feb 7, 2015
  • What's cool? How about smartwatches? That reminds me...does anyone have an Apple Watch yet? I think people were too quick to write off Google Glass, especially re: education. It might take a successor, but the Glass concept will make a comeback! http://www.apple.com/watch/?cid=wwa-us-kwg-watch-com - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015

  • I think 'curriculum specificity' as a theme is missing. Wearable technology is a potentially very broad category - as the description notes. By definition, we are talking about many different types of technology. So particular types of wearable technology are likely to be successful in specific curriculum areas. Is any one 'wearable' likely to be successful across the curriculum in the way that tablets are? Perhaps. - dezuanni dezuanni Feb 13, 2015
  • Some wearable technology has the potential to be cool and trendy. Other wearable technology may be hidden from view but provides valuable personal data. Both have their place and potential. - leslie.s.conery leslie.s.conery Feb 16, 2015 - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 20, 2015- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015 we're starting to see increasing numbers of middle school age students interested in tracking their bio-metrics for a variety of reasons. When they are interested without a push from the schools on it, it clearly points to this as an emerging and important trend. One area not touched on this how paretns are going to react to this, especially if schools do collect biometric data on their child. This could be a potentially inhibiting factor. Should be very interesting to see how it plays out.- digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • Applications of wearables like the heartrate sensors used in heartmath [[http://www.heartmath.com/) have]] huge potential to support the development and measurement of socio-emotional growth (with a focus on emotional). Helping students understand and regulate their emotions could improve concentration and 'flow' in the course of learning and creating in schools. I have heard of examples of aggressive youth using this type of technology to dramatically improve self-regulation, enabling fuller participation in schooling.
  • I would like to see a category to help students understand how the devices actually work. Great opportunity to teach data collection, technology programming skills, and more. - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015
  • Impact on network infrastructure discussion is missing. Projecting 3 years out we anticipate that the majority of our 4th-12th grade students are going to be bringing at least 1 wearable piece of technology to school with many bringing 2 or more. Factor that in with the 1:1 devices and the BYOD devices to pose some real interesting numbers. As a district of 25,000 we are preparing for 100,000+ simultaneous wireless network connections in 3 years. - digitalroberto digitalroberto Feb 22, 2015
  • Impact on privacy issues and intellectual property. The intellectual property structure in education can see some changes as data recording and sharing becomes more fluid with the help of wearables - giselle.santos giselle.santos Feb 23, 2015 This is an important point! Who else has access to the data? How is it being used, stored, and modified?- ryan.tomaps ryan.tomaps Feb 23, 2015

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • The use of the device will be seamless. Agree - kayj kayj Feb 22, 2015
  • Covered this in #2. This web page sums it up nicely:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/14-google-glass-innovativ_b_5410893.html - davidwdeeds davidwdeeds Feb 8, 2015
  • The potential impact is limitless, but this will take time. My instinct is the initial impact will occur in specific, isolated instances, where early adopters find specific reasons for using a wearable. The potential impact is limitless because it will only be restrained by teachers' and developers' imaginations. I think the real potential with wearables will come through opportunities for creativity and expression - where students are allowed to experiment through art and design work. - dezuanni dezuanni Feb 13, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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