Are You Asking the Right Questions About Wearable Technologies?

Don’t Ignore the Hype!

You may not get it just yet, you may not see a need, but you would be wrong to dismiss wearable technology.

It’s true, I’m a sucker for Apple’s sleek, new gear. Say what you want about Apple’s expensive and usually proprietary advancements, but you can’t ignore their knack for design. Apple products appeal to both the geek, and fashionista in me. Apple announced the much anticipated Apple Watch today, and even though it won’t technically be available until early next year, it excited a lot Apple loyalists.

Social media was buzzing all day with announcements and opinions, and comparisons to products already on the market. With new technologies come new questions: What is a smart watch? Why do I want one? But if you are asking yourself, “Do I need a watch?” you are asking the wrong question.

As consumers, as teachers and students, we often take new products and try to substitute them for products we know. Think back just a few years ago…

When my teachers were first introduced to the document camera, they wanted to know how to use their old transparencies under this new, sophisticated device. They were asking the wrong question. This document camera could do so much more than project an image on the screen. It took some practical hands-on demonstrations to get them to see that the new tool could do new things.

A couple years later the iPod Touch was introduced. I was tasked with testing this new-fangled device to see how it could be used to improve student learning. Please note, this was before the App Store! I didn’t understand the advantages that this new device could offer. I didn’t see where this was going. I was asking the wrong question.

A few years later, a mere four years ago, the iPad was born. Again, I was lucky enough to be in a district that was an early-adopter. Many of the leaders around me immediately started buying fancy cases with built-in keyboards. They wanted to turn their beautiful touch-screen iPads into mini laptops. They didn’t get it. They were at the substitution level. It took a couple years for people to realize that tablets were a game-changer, a whole new category of technology with a whole new world of possibilities.

Enter the smart watch…If you are so quick to dismiss the smart watch because you don’t need a watch, YOU ARE ASKING THE WRONG QUESTION! We have entered a whole new category of devices: wearables. Whether it’s the Apple Watch, Moto 360, Google Glass, or Oculus, it doesn’t matter, folks. The age of wearables is here! These new tools can do new things, and the game-change is just around the corner. Soon students will be walking into our classrooms wearing all manner of wearable technologies. How will you use this to engage your students? What new adventures will be born in your classroom? Be open to new ideas and ideas that can transform. The right question is simply one that asks what new things are possible with this new tool? Is Wearable Technology a Game Changer?

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