Wearables in the Education Industry
When the Google Glass explorer program was still in full swing, many believed that it held great promise for students and educators alike. Students could record themselves solving problems or conducting experiments for teachers to analyze later and provide feedback. Teachers could also record themselves while they were teaching and provide students with their perspective for a more thorough understanding. These and other applications held great promise but at a high price point and a revamp of the program made Glass out of reach for many schools. However, that doesn’t mean wearable technology in education can’t be a reality. On the contrary, there are plenty of technology tools and apps that teachers and students can wear every day to enhance learning.
This device from Movable is a basic activity tracker that allows students to track their progress, connect with groups, and join fun and effective challenges. Priced at $29.99 USD, Movable is affordable enough for schools to put to use in health and physical education classes. Florida Virtual school, an online public high school, requires all of their Health Opportunities through a Physical Education course; a class required of all high school students in the state.
This wearable camera has been used by students to record daily events to enhance digital storytelling. The Narrative Clip camera is small enough to be worn on a shirt collar or backpack strap and automatically takes two pictures a minute. While all of the pictures can be viewed, its algorithm selects the best pictures to add to your daily narrative so users can relive their day’s events. Other features include:
- 8MP camera
- GPS enabled for tagging
- WiFi connectivity
- Wireless transfer to smartphone
- 8GB memory
- 30-hour battery life
Google Glass or Oculus Rift may be a bit too pricey for most schools to use, but Google Cardboard may be just the answer. At $15 USD, this viewer pairs up with a smartphone to provide the wearer with a pretty good virtual reality experience. Good enough for classrooms to take their students on virtual field trips or even perform virtual dissections.
We use fitness trackers to monitor our heart rates as well as to provide useful feedback and motivation. So why would we not use a device that could measure brain activity and provide feedback for when we are engaged in learning or when we become distracted? Muse allows for just that. Worn around the head initially for feedback during meditation, people have begun to put it to other uses like fixing their golf game and in the classroom. Teachers can see which activities engage their students and students can also get a quick reminder to get back on track if they become mentally distracted.
Wearables Will Impact and Transform the Future Classroom
Wearables hold so much promise when it comes to education and learning. As wearable technology devices become more accessible for teachers and students, they will start to impact and transform learning in the classroom. Years ago, smartphones were banned from most classrooms and today they are a staple of the learning process. Wearable technology is going through a similar trend, and we will most likely see them as standard devices in the future of the education industry.