What is Quantified Self?



Quantified self describes the phenomenon of consumers being able to closely track data that is relevant to their everyday lives through the use of technology. The emergence of wearable devices on the market such as watches, wristbands, and necklaces that are designed to automatically collect data are helping people manage their fitness, sleep cycles, and eating habits. Mobile apps also share a central role in this idea by providing easy-to-read dashboards for consumers to view and analyze their personal metrics. Empowered by these insights, many individuals now rely on these technologies to improve their lifestyle and health. Today’s apps 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. Novel devices, too, are enabling people to track their lives automatically, such as the Memoto, a camera worn around the neck that is designed to capture an image every half minute. As more people rely on their mobile devices to monitor their daily activities, data is becoming a larger part of everyday life.

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

  • Feedback is crucial to (any) learning. QS tech offers almost immediate feedback on behavior (movement, sleep, eating, etc.) thereby improving the probability greatly that a person is motivated to actually reach his/her goal. By combining insight in behavior and linking that to educational tasks/achievements we can optimize the effectiveness of education, especially in K-12 where children are often not fully conscious of the relation between physical and mental activity (allthough is true for most adults aswell ;-) - M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Nov 3, 2013
  • 'Quantified Self' (QS) can be integrated into the curriculum, particularly into aspects dealing with health, well-being and physical/sporting activity. QS could be a major contributor to improved attitudes about health and in dealing with problems such as obesity. However, QS deployment should be done under guidance and we need to be conscious of the risk the QS might encourage obsessive behaviours driven by the data and an over-dependence on the analysis it presents. A tangential benefit of QS is that it can help to teach students about 'analytics' and thus may contribute to them having a better understanding of 'big data', privacy and who monitors what.- jimdevine jimdevine Oct 23, 2013 I agree. - paul paul Oct 29, 2013 I agree, but it's good to remember that not all feedback is good feedback! Also, people should learn to self-regulate themselves and not to rely external tools to tell them to stop - Riina_Vuorikari Riina_Vuorikari Oct 31, 2013

  • Fully agree with above. I would add that QS could contribute to grooming reflective learners and practitioners. I also see a connection with learning analytics, i.e. the collection of data to provide a dashboard helping learners (and carers) to make informed decisions. This also connects to the issue of privacy and the ability to control our personal data, for example with a personal digital locker. - Serge Serge Oct 25, 2013 Fully agree. Learning Analutics is an upcoming technology but it gone take some time time - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Oct 30, 2013 - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Nov 3, 2013

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

  • Competition and community are an important elements with many wearables (like the fitbit flex and the jawbone up). Within my team of 9 people we all wear the fitbit flex and we compete with our 'steps' during the week. Who gets the most exercise? Even jokingly this motivates people to adopt a healthier lifestyle also improving their performance at work.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • Its early days for this technology but in time I expect much better conscious decisions on when to offer which activity. Boys need more physical movement and perform better in a test when they have had some exercise. Girls don't need that as much (for better test performance). Apart from differences between boys and girls individual preferences and experiences can be registered and understood offering a whealth of possibilities in personalizing a childs learning program throughout the day and week.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
  • Nutrition and sports/fitness are the obvious candidate areas. - jimdevine jimdevine Oct 23, 2013

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


  • We are setting up a pilot at a high school as we speak, involving a class of students and their teacher who will start wearing the fitbit flex. No documentation or online information available yet.- M.vanWetering M.vanWetering Oct 21, 2013
  • Dublin City University, in association with the national public service broadcaster RTE runs the 'All Island First Year Fitness Challenge' http://www4.dcu.ie/shhp/first_year_fitness_challenge.shtml [[user:jimdevine|1382544025] * http://quantifiedself.com/conference/Amsterdam-2013/ - Serge Serge Oct 25, 2013
  • I cannot find the information now, but in 2012 in Microsoft partners in learning European forum, Ritaharju school from Oulu, Finland won one of the awards where students used smart phones to support their tracking of their health education. It was a nice project by 2 physical education teachers, both women.- Riina_Vuorikari Riina_Vuorikari Oct 31, 2013

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