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?

  • Wearable tech can be of great value as a means of data collection for numerous STEM classes that require field work and/or remote instrumentation control. Wearables are tactical assets for housing mobile sensors.- mabbiatti mabbiatti May 18, 2015Mike Abbiatti
  • With the call for education to be more relevant and contextualized, wearable is the perfect technology for this. For example students can log exercise with trackers such as Jawbone, Fitbit and the new Apple watch. They can then use that data in mathematics, science etc. as meaningful data. - crompton crompton Jun 14, 2015
  • Along with the science and all related STEM disciplines referenced in the comments above I also think the use of this technology and it's resulting datasets are perfect entry points for more specific applications in fields such as medicine, emergency response systems, and health, nutrition and exercise sciences. Again, as is the case with so many technologies, it's not only the single piece of technology that is central to the potential for this resource, but also the multiple wireless devices that can interface with the primary data collection device in order to build the datasets and related analytical components that derive further evidence from these tools. (- kim.owen kim.owen Jun 16, 2015)

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

  • In order to contextualize wearables we need to place them in the realm of the Internet of Things phenomenon.Most wearables were not created as specific educational tools, and the challenge is to understand the mindset and expectations of the student as he/she enters the "classroom" with wearables. The missing theme is the role of wearables in the overall IoT millieu. IoT is not just an infrastructure issue, IoT is about what we DO with the infrastructure. Wearables are operational assets that have significant educational, public safety, and medical uses.- mabbiatti mabbiatti May 18, 2015Mike Abbiatti
  • ...and not only what we DO with the infrastructure - also what we do with the resulting data that is continuously collected from these devices. The topic of data management and data stewardship as a critical role to be identified within industries that evolve to support these new tools is yet another area that could be explored within the context of 21st century skills and workforce development. (- kim.owen kim.owen Jun 16, 2015)

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


  • The potential impact of wearables is as elusive as the items themselves. If considered as part of the teaching,learning ,and creativity ecosystem coupled with the Research and Education networks, wearables require investment in community resources to be relevant. Wearables will cause increasing costs in bandwidth, support staffing, utilities, and other operational categories as well as enabling amazing medical, public safety, and educational opportunities. If the R&E networks do not increase activity in creating and scaling a strategy for wearables as part of an overall IoT strategy, then the commercial providers will grow with the demands of new devices and tools. Thus the potential impact is has both positive and negative depending upon your perspective. Public high performance networks should be working diligently to craft public/private partnerships if they wish to remain a powerful teaching and learning asset. Wearables are just another piece of the puzzle that, in the end, must resemble a viable IoT strategy. - mabbiatti mabbiatti May 18, 2015Mike Abbiatti - crompton crompton Jun 14, 2015
  • Contextualizing learning - crompton crompton Jun 14, 2015
  • Wearables are a good illustration of circuitry and are a concrete example for use in Physics classrooms.- lisa.gustinelli lisa.gustinelli May 20, 2015
  • Discipline/curriculum alignment cover a broad range of topics: multiple science areas that include not only research and development of the product itself, but also the use of the products to capture and track data related to health, fitness and nutrition (biological sciences, chemistry, engineering as it relates to advanced medical devices such as pace makers, etc); apparel and textiles, and interior design industries; etc. (- kim.owen kim.owen Jun 16, 2015)

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


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