July 8, 2014

Wearable Technology In Schools

By Mojgan Afshari

Wearable Technology In Schools

New wearable technology innovations have transformed the learning and teaching process in which students deal with knowledge in an active, self-directed and constructive way. As an educational tool, wearable technology can help children exercise their creativity and innovation and interact with their surrounding in an easier and a more natural way. It provides opportunities for students to learn more quickly and access information with less effort or mental input. It is important to keep in mind that using wearable technologies in teaching and learning process is very different from the traditional learning experience where students come to class at a fixed time and location. Teachers should learn how to manage effectively the new learners and how to use effectively wearable technologies in an educational setting.

Some examples of wearable technology that can be used in education are Autographers, Keygloves, Muse (Brain-sensing headband), VR, Smart Watches,  GoPro, and Google Glass. These technologies can be used in education to develop student’s skills for cooperation, communication, problem solving and lifelong learning.

The Autographer helps students to capture photos of the teacher’s direct notes. So, they will always have exact information from their teacher. Keygloves are wireless open-source input glove that can provide flexibility and convenience for Gaming, design, art, music, data entry, device control, 3D object. This device can also facilitate singlehanded tasks and is perfect for handicapped or disabled users. Muse can display students’ brain’s activity directly onto a smartphone or tablet. When students are working on a project or studying for an important test, for Instance, Muse can be used to measure their brainwaves and detect what activities they need to be active in and can help their mind stay focused and less stressed out.

Virtual Reality (VR) gives students an opportunity to get hands-on experiences and increases their knowledge. It can present complex data in an accessible way to students which is both fun and easy to learn. Students can interact with each other as well as they can interact with the objects in that environment in order to discover more about them. Furthermore, Smartwatches are able to provide information and remote applications like camera, fitness applications, games and tools applications for measurements and calculations for students. All of the facilities afforded by smartphones are squeezed into Smartwatches. Chiu and Liu (2014) conducted a study on utilization of smartwatches in education and found that this technology can enhance learning outcomes and allow students to access education flexibly, calmly and seamlessly.

In addition, iPod technologies offer great opportunities for flexible learning. Dale and Pymm (2009) found that the iPod as an effective learning tool can empower students to think more creatively about their subject matter and encourage the development of collaborative learning. Hence, it gives a sense of self-empowerment and autonomy to the individual. Moreover, GoPro is an interesting and unique camera that has the ability to capture students and teachers’ view of events, to record instruction, and to explore novel possibilities. The GoPro camera helps teachers to examine their students’ behaviours and to make more informed pedagogical decisions.

Another pretty awesome innovation is Google Glass. “Google Glass is a web-connected wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD). In other words, Google Glass integrates eyeglasses with a wearable and connected microcomputer. Users can interact with Google Glass with their voice and information is shown on the display screen. Teachers and students can share information in various modes of interaction by using this technology. Google Glass can help educators and students to search, take a picture, record a video, answer questions and translate their voice to foreign languages. Wu and her colleagues (2014) found that Google Glass can be successfully integrated into simulation-based training exercises without disrupting the learners’ experience. It can increase learners’ experiences and their attention on a current task and the people with whom they are interacting. In addition, Google Glass can revolutionize graduate medical education. It allows medical students watch different medical procedures in real time. Hence, this new technology can improve education and patient outcomes.

By Mojgan Afshari

Mojgan Afshari

Mojgan Afshari is a senior lecturer in the Department of Educational Management, Planning and Policy at the University of Malaya. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Applied Chemistry from Tehran, Iran. Then, she completed her Master’s degree in Educational Administration. After living in Malaysia for a few years, she pursued her PhD in Educational Administration with a focus on ICT use in education from the University Putra Malaysia. She currently teaches courses in managing change and creativity and statistics in education at the graduate level.
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