InformED writes. “Wearable technologies that could automatically send information via text, email, and social networks on behalf of the user, based on voice commands, gestures, or other indicators, would help students and educators communicate with each other, keep track of updates, and better organize notifications.”
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 such as shoes or a jacket. 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.
One of the most popular incarnations of the technology was the calculator watch, which was introduced in the 1980s. Since then, the field has advanced significantly, but the overarching theme behind the technology remains the same – _x009d_convenience. These tools are portable, light weight, and often take the place of an accessory the user already wears, such as a t-shirt, glasses, or wrist-watch, making them easy to take anywhere.
Google’s “Project Glass”_x009d_ features one of the most talked about current examples – _x009d_ the device resembles a pair of glasses, but with a single lens. A user can 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.
Currently, the number of new wearable devices in the consumer sector seems to be increasing daily, greatly outpacing the implementation of this technology at universities. The education sector is just beginning to experiment with, develop, and implement wearable technologies, though the potential applications are significant and vast. Smart jewelry or other accessories could alert students working in chemical laboratories to hazardous conditions, while wearable cameras can instantly capture hundreds of photographs or data about a user’s surroundings on an offsite geology dig that can be later accessed via email or other online application.
One of the most compelling potential outcomes of wearable technology in higher education is productivity. Wearable technologies that could automatically send information via text, email, and social networks on behalf of the user, based on voice commands, gestures, or other indicators, would help students and educators communicate with each other, keep track of updates, and better organize notifications.
Although wearable technology is not yet pervasive in higher education, it will increase in impact as enabling technologies gain traction in the consumer market.
An Infographic by www.OpenColleges.edu.au