Once upon a time, wearable technology was considered a distant dream of the future, an innovation that would allow us to interact with our environments more conveniently and efficiently than ever. Now, wearable technology is a mainstream reality.
Fitness trackers help people track their health and physical movement by counting calories burned, steps taken, distance crossed, and more. Smartwatches help people stay organized and responsive, attaching the capabilities of a smartphone right to their wrists. And consumer health products help people to monitor risk for specific conditions, such as with blood sugar monitors or blood pressure monitors.
Wearable technology is certainly useful. But is it appropriate for the classroom? Let’s take a look at the evidence – three different potential applications of wearable technology in the classroom…and how they might bring a beneficial new approach to education.
VR headsets such as Oculus Quest have certainly introduced a whole new world of “interactive” to video gamers. But wearable VR headsets can also be used in the classroom, to create virtual, interactive worlds for students learning about history, science, and more. Imagine a student exploring the pyramids to learn about ancient Egypt, or navigating a biodiverse jungle to learn about biology. Potential uses for VR headsets are endless – and can bring students into a whole new level of engagement with any subject matter.
Smart glasses such as Google Glass fall into the augmented reality category, superimposing virtual elements onto reality. They can also be used to record video content, take photos, perform searches and more. Smart glasses might be used in the classroom by students who are working on hands-on projects, such as for a lesson in design, engineering, or art. As a result, learners can engage fully in the task at hand while still collecting valuable content.
Finally, students with disabilities – such as with visual or hearing impairments – can benefit from wearable technology that helps them to engage more effectively with their surroundings. Dot is a smartwatch that translates content into braille, allowing students with visual impairments to engage with different types of content quickly and conveniently. And new developments in hearing devices for the deaf – for example a device that connects to smartphones and allows the deaf to engage in group conversations – may also have have exciting implications for classroom discussions.
The verdict? Wearable technology is a great idea for the classroom. By creating a learning experience that is engaging, efficient, and effective, wearable tech creates a win-win for everyone in the classroom, students and teachers alike.
John Stuppy, EDUMETRIX president, helps ed-tech products & services companies grow fast, dominate their market & prepare to sell. John is a successful global ed-tech leader. He guides, mentors & drives companies to hit aggressive business and education goals using his hands-on management experience & technology savvy in rare combination with stellar academic credentials, strategic vision and sales expertise.