Where do we go next with wearables? A SXSWEdu Recap

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.09.38 AMSXSWEdu is over, and I’m unraveling my thoughts about this year and thinking about the breakout trends for next year.   Watching trends from SXSWi as well as the advent of the Apple watch and other devices, I predict wearables will be an even bigger theme at EDU next year(along with the privacy issues they raise).

Beyond the neat

In their “Wear to Learn:  Body as Interface” session, Emory Craig(College of New Rochelle) and Maya Georgeiva(Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning)  led an intriguing conversation on wearable technologies.  I loved that they went beyond the “these wearables are neat” approach, and delved into the questions we are facing in education as wearables start infiltrating the market.

Food for thought

–How can wearables help us personalize learning for students and how in effect, will that change our instructional possibilities?

–How can wearables be used to create new learning situations for our students?  For example–augmented reality goggles could be used to create immersion experiences like immersion in a French cafe to learn French.  Virtual storytelling campfire spaces could add warmth and connection to a learning experience.  Designers not only will be concerned with creating software for learning, but for an experience. (Certainly this is already happening w/game design, etc.)

–How do we engage students in a wearable world?

–Will data being gathered from wearables be used to screen out students too?  Who owns the data and who has wearable sessionaccess?

–How are wearables going to affect our learning systems if everyone can wear their own recording device that is personalized?

–How can or will wearables increase “connectedness” within our student communities?  (and my question, will these increase “within school community connectedness” or will we outlaw this access forcing these communities to be “outside of school” as many districts have done with Twitter, FB, etc.)

wearablesPolicies and Privacy

–When do we start developing Wearable Tech policies in our districts and how do we make them flexible w/rapid pace of change?

–Will students be willing to give up privacy for more information about their learning?

Another question I have — if we allow BYOT wearables, which undoubtedly we will(and already are), does this add to the national digital divide our students face, and if so, how will we in edu compensate for that?

Not Just Shiny

Lastly, as TED speaker Diana Laufenberg reminds colleagues, we should be wary of getting caught up in the “shiny,” but instead think meaningfully about the opportunities, questions, and challenges that wearables will pose for our learning environments.

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