Apple certainly made a splash with its new Apple Watch, selling at least one million during the first weekend that it was available for preorder. Now, Penn State University, University Park, is planning to study how the device can be used in the classroom.
Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), a unit of the university’s Information Technology Services, will conduct a pilot program this summer to study the effectiveness of wearable devices for delivering self-regulated learning. TLT plans to expand the study through the 2015-16 academic year.
“Wearable devices are unique because they can co-exist with the student, in a virtually transparent way, at the moment of learning,” Kyle Bowen, director of education-technology services, said in an article for eCampus News. “Using mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, enables students to consume information and create content. Wearable technologies, like the Apple Watch, enable a new layer of reflection that students can use to evaluate their learning experiences.”
One promising area for the watch is the hands-free opportunities it provides faculty members. For instance, the device makes it possible for an instructor to no longer have to stand at the lectern or have a clicker to advance slides.
“A lot of these small little apps that we’ve seen to, say, identify a random student—these types of small tools to automate the classroom experience can be put onto a watch, and no longer do I have to think about having to stand at the lectern because I want to use my hands or carry around a tablet,” Bowen told The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Now, I just have a device on my wrist and I can interact with it.”