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, and even new classes of devices that are seamlessly integrated with a user’s everyday life and movements. Google's “Project Glass” is one of the most talked about current examples — the device resembles a pair of glasses, but with a single lens. A user can see information about their surroundings displayed in front of them, such as the names of friends who are in close proximity, or nearby places to access data that would be relevant to a research project. Another is the Jawbone Up bracelet that tracks how you eat, sleep, and move. Other wearable technology already in the market includes clothing that can keep a mobile device charged via solar cells, allow interactions with a user’s devices via sewn-in controls or touch pads, collect data on a person's movements, and much more.

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

  • Universities and schools will need to cope with another change in the definition of what and where computing is - jnxyz jnxyz Feb 6, 2014
  • In the VET sector where students are gathering assessment evidence in workplaces and generally outside the classroom there's a lot of potential here both for recording activity but also for ensuring authenticity - robyn.jay robyn.jay Feb 15, 2014 Similarly for universities with both an emphasis on work integrated learning (PACE at Macquarie), practicums and fieldwork, there is a lot of potential here. - helen.carter helen.carter Feb 26, 2014
  • Possibility of BYO lots-of-devices! Perhaps the size will determine which task it’s useful for – the larger screen for viewing while the miniature for data collection, audio and functionality.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 18, 2014

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

  • The dual categorisation that should apply to wearables - were some are independent wrist PCs, and others act as remote spokes for a smartphone hub. - jnxyz jnxyz Feb 6, 2014
  • The integration of worn devices could provide a seamless virtual layer to reality which could be closely linked to Quantified self- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 18, 2014

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

  • For some, the wrist-PC will eventually replace the mLearning role of the smartphone as mobilisation/miniturisation and natural user interface development continues. For others it will prove a way to super-charge the mLearning tasks they already use a smartphone for. - jnxyz jnxyz Feb 6, 2014
  • Immediate ramifications for learning space design. (- cpaterso cpaterso Feb 14, 2014)
  • wearables will require a great deal of teaching and professional development 1) how to use something like Google Glass 2) all of the issues that will arise around the ethics of such devices - where they are appropriate and where they are not 3) quite possibly too around Occupational Health and Safety (eg will people fall of railway station platforms while wearing Google Glass?) 4) Legal: there will be legislation around the use of these potentially invasive devices that teachers and students will need to be aware of - michael.coughlan michael.coughlan Feb 16, 2014
  • 1. Huge impact in health sciences. 2. Natural progression for those who have embraced mLearning but wide chasm for late adopters. 3. We've become fairly adept at walking and texting without mishap so 'googlassing' might not be that dangerous on railway platforms.- joanne.woodrow joanne.woodrow Feb 18, 2014
  • Wearable devices will signal a new level of data collection and the possibility of analytics. Comparative data from hundreds of thousands of uses from everyday activity can create new opportunities for research, particularly in areas such as health sciences. I'm guessing it will not be long before a research project using a fitbit is launched in an Australian higher education institution ! - c.macken c.macken Feb 23, 2014c.macken

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

  • Project at Griffith University using wearable video cameras (e.g. http://www.looxcie.com/ and eventually Glass) to record and stream video from the instructors perspective to capture student participation in a lecture environment, complementing traditional lecture capture of just the presenter (or their slideshow) and encouraging more interactive student participation. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014
  • Project at Griffith University using wireless EEG headsets (such as the http://emotiv.com/) to provide students with personal measures of their attention and cognitive activity during instruction to support reflective learning practices. - j.zagami j.zagami Feb 26, 2014
  • another response here

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