Monday, February 22, 2016

Pros and Cons of Wearable Technology

Last blog I talked about what wearable technology is and how it can be implemented in the classroom or gym. However, in this blog post I want to focus on the advantages and disadvantages of wearable technology in the classroom. I think it's important to know about the pros and cons of wearable technology before you actually implement it with students, so you can focus on the benefits and try to reduce the challenges that may be associated with these devices.

In my research, I have found many positive attributes that come along with using wearable technology in the classroom or gym. One major advantage is the fact that the students can become more motivated to learn with the hands-on experience they receive from using the wearable technology. For example, when they use a fitbit in a physical education setting, they are learning about their own heart rate and about how specific activities can either increase it or decrease it. This engages the students more, since it's related to their own personal wellbeing, rather then a scenario from a health book. Not only does this device personalize the information, but it also gives the students immediate feedback. This immediate feedback can be another positive attribute of wearable technology. For example, the google glass can allow students to look up questions on the spot, leading to instant gratification.  The google glass can also "adapt to your environment by giving facts about your surroundings" or "translating signs in other languages", all which could be advantageous to someone interested in their local weather, or someone traveling to a foreign country.

Another feature of the google glass that can be helpful for students in a classroom setting, is the fact that students can record big lectures on many of these devices as well. This can be very beneficial to the students who cannot write notes fast enough in class, and instead can use a device, such as the google glass, to record the lecture and then play it back once they get home. Lastly, some types of wearable technology, such as the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, can keep students organized. For example, this type of smartwatch can allow a student to set up reminder notifications for important events (e.g. setting a certain time to meet with a study group).

Although wearable technology looks appealing in the classroom thus far, students can also get easily distracted with these devices as well. Just like any type of technology, students can abuse the privilege of using them if they use the devices in the classroom for non-educational purposes. For example, using  smartwatches to get on social media sites such as facebook or instagram, instead of using these devices for research.

Another disadvantage to wearable technology is that they are less versatile then regular technology, such as an ipad or laptop. For example, you can't send an email or make a phone call using your smartwatch. Also, you might receive a message on a specific type of wearable  technology and not be able to respond back until you get to your actual smart phone that is connected to it. These drawbacks can make a person realize that there are some limitations to these devices just like any other type of technology.

Lastly, one of the biggest disadvantages of the implementation of wearable technology in the classroom is the cost of these devices. For example, to get a fitbit or google glass for every student in the class would be too expensive and most schools would not be able to afford it. Even getting a handful of these devices could be a struggle for some schools who have lower budgets.  Hence, due to tight educational budgets, it might be difficult for schools to attain them for every student since they may not be that high of a priority compared to other educational resources.

Here is a video reinforcing some of the pros and cons of wearable technology that I blogged about along with other additional additional advantages and disadvantages.

These are some links to the websites where I received some of the information that I used in this blog.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Wearable Technology Implemented in the Class/Gym

Now days technology is constantly being implemented in the classroom for various purposes. However, the type of technology I want to focus on in this blog is "wearable technology". Wearable technology is considered to be, "Computer-based devices that can be worn by users, taking the form of an accessory such as jewelry, eye wear, or even actual items of clothing such as shoes or a jacket".

The most common form of wearable technologies are physical activity monitors such as fitbits, jawbones, smart watches, and smart running shoes. These types of wearable technologies can be a great educational tool for Physical and Health Educators, such as myself. Another type of wearable technology that can be implemented for educational purposes is the google glass. The google glass is eyewear that allows a person to connect to the internet through voice command, take pictures, record videos, and interact with other google products. In the youtube video below you will see the impact wearable technology has on education so far.

Since I am a Health and Physical Educator, I feel that these physical activity monitors, such as the FitBit and NikeFuel Band, would be most beneficial in both my Health and Physical Education classes that I teach. Considering, I currently don't have a Fitbit or Nike Fuel Band, I did some research on both of these wearable technology devices. I found two specific articles that related to using these two devices in Health and Physical Education classes. The links to these articles are located at the end of this blog post. 

In the first article on Fitbits, I discovered some ideas to implement this type of technology in PE, from an individual who commented on the article. The commenter was also a physical educator and expressed that he could have his students wear the Fitbits on a weekly basis to track their activity and sleep patterns. He also mentioned that he could connect this assignment to his nutrition unit to compare fitness data with nutritional data. I personally thought this was a great idea, since I usually have the same students that I teach Physical Education to in Health class.

In the second article I read on Nike Fuel bands, I received some more insight on how I could implement these physical monitors into my curriculum. This article was about a physical educator who wrote a grant to get Nike Fuel bands for her students. These Nike Fuel bands were used to track energy expended from a variety of activities. The students would earn energy output fuel points by tracking their calories that they burned and how many steps they took daily. She also incorporated Nutrition to the lesson, by having her students get on, to compare their calories that they consumed from their daily diets versus the calories expended from physical activity that they tracked on their Nike Fuel Bands. 

Overall, both of these websites made me realize how beneficial these two types of wearable technology devices could be in both the gym and the health classroom. The articles also allowed me to see how these devices can keep the students interested in their health, by using the information that they received from these devices to set personal goals for themselves. I am definitely looking forward to implementing one of these devices into my future lesson plans!

Fitbit Flex article:

Nike Fuel Band article: