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 like shoes or a jacket. Often discreet, a person who comes into contact with someone wearing a device may not even realize that the article of clothing is a piece of technology. The benefit of wearable technology is that it can conveniently integrate tools, devices, power needs, and connectivity within a user’s everyday life and movements. Google's Project Glass features one of the most talked about current examples —the device resembles a pair of glasses but with a single lens. A user can literally see information about their surroundings displayed in front of them, such as the names of friends who are in close proximity, or nearby places to access data that would be relevant to a research project. Wearable technology is still very new, but one can easily imagine accessories such as gloves that enhance the user’s ability to feel or control something they are not directly touching. Wearable technology already in the market includes clothing that charges batteries via decorative solar cells, allows interactions with a user’s devices via sewn in controls or touch pads, or collects data on a person's exercise regimen from sensors embedded in the heels of their shoes.

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

  • I'm not sure if wearable technology will be relevant for K12-education in the near future, but then again, when devices like Google Glass, the much anticipated smart watches or intelligent wearable camera's hit the public consumer market, we can easily go 'the way of the iPad'. Wearable technology extends mobile learning, connecting learners and can be integrated in to teaching and learning at different levels. Connected with other devices it will create a seamless learning environment. Wearable technology uses sensors that provides us with information about the natural environment, it's context aware. Wearable technology can provide us, more directy than other mobile devices, with all kinds of contextualized information, which we can integrate in learning activities and feedback processes (Specht, 2009). Another benefit of wearable technology is that we have our hands free to do other things, like fixing a machine or doing a science experiment supported by a tutorial on your 'glass'. We will see a lot of experimenting first, perhaps entering the first two stages of Gartner's Hype Cycle in the next couple of years, and of course there will be a heated debate about privacy issues. - Jeroen.Bottema Jeroen.Bottema Oct 30, 2013 - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 30, 2013


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

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on European schools education?

  • I can very well see great potential in wearable technology for school work, especially in small groups, experiments and field work. Apart from the fact that this technology is still very new, as mentioned in the above description, I think that its introduction in schools could be a very sensitive issue. I would imagine that most, if not all, articles of wearable technology would be seen as very cool status symbols, especially among young people. Schools would therefore need to watch out for possible divides between cool kids with the latest technology and others who lack it. So, if at all feasible, a concerted introduction of wearable devices for use in schools would be helpful to avoid such clashes. - helga helga Oct 26, 2013 Agree! - stasele.riskiene stasele.riskiene Oct 30, 2013
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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