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.


  1. Angela,

    I have a Fitbit, so can relate to how it drives me to be competitive with myself and, at times, my Fitbit friends. I have witnessed how it can be a positive influence in my life and wish my students could benefit from this wearable technology and others, like the ones you mention (Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Google Glass). With that, the start of your blog makes me want to purchase wearable technology for my students. The recording and reminder feature would benefit them drastically!

    However, I can also see how distracting it could potentially be to them. Not only that, but I could imagine a lot of them would get lazy or forgetful when it comes to charging the piece. In addition, you mention the limits and drawbacks these technologies have like the inability to send emails, make calls, take messages and others… but I bet in the next few years, that will all change! Imagine what wearable technology would be like then!

  2. Cat,
    I agree that since these limitations are already made aware to the inventors, in the next few years they will most likely fix this problem, as well as give these devices more special features!