Reflection on #aWEAR16

aWEAR Meeting

What a busy week! I had the opportunity to present and take part in #aWEAR16 before heading to the annual OLC Accelerate conference with the professional learning community program that I help run at UTA. I flew out to Stanford on Sunday, presented Monday, left #aWEAR16 at lunchtime on Tuesday to fly to Charlotte and finally arrive in Orlando past midnight for OLC. While it was a whirlwind trip, I enjoyed my time visiting with other scholars and learning about their research in the area of wearable technology and virtual/augmented reality. I particularly enjoyed my chats with Chris Brooks around data collection in classroom environments! I wish that I had the opportunity to finish the event and to be part of the recap, but I appreciated attending overall. George Siemens, Catherine Spann, Srecko Joksimovic, Iris Howley, and Amber Patterson deserve extra kudos for a well-run event.

Matt Crosslin and I presented Examining the Interaction Between Wearables and Virtual/Augmented Reality From a Design and Theoretical Perspective. Given both of our backgrounds working in instructional design at UTA, we suggested some practices that moved away from purely instructivist pedagogy to more student-centered, inclusive, active, and social approaches. Given the decreasing cost and the increasing number of device options, subsequent buzz is taking place in education and related fields, and it is important for practitioners and scholars to consider a number of points. For example, there are issues with terminology and standards (considering fidelity). Do actual features and functionality of a wearable match the product description? Do individuals or researchers have access to unaltered data? Who is verifying and validating algorithms? How secure is collected biometric data? As it stands, there has been less research on “zoomed out” approaches that focus on the influence of teachers, curriculum, etc. and there are few generalizable theories based on empirical research. This gap provides exciting opportunities for researchers! **

We had the opportunity to reflect in working groups on a number of issues in the field and it is clear that wearable research is still a veritable wild west. As researchers and institutions at large consider implementing wearables and virtual/augmented reality, there are many considerations that need rsz_20161115_075533discussion. One that is dear to my heart is the ethical implications that arise, particularly from the massive datasets that can be tied to others, such as student information systems (demographic, performance, etc.) and learning management systems (such as clickstream). Awareness and transparency about implementation is paramount to protecting stakeholders and promoting trust.

If you’re interested, here is the event’s Twitter Hastag.

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– Singh, A., Uijtdewilligen, L., Twisk, J. W., Van Mechelen, W., & Chinapaw, M. J. (2012). Physical activity and performance at school: a systematic review of the literature including a methodological quality assessment. Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine, 166(1), 49-55.
– Tun, J. K., Alinier, G., Tang, J., & Kneebone, R. L. (2015). Redefining simulation fidelity for healthcare education. Simulation & Gaming, 1046878115576103.
– Verburgh, L., Königs, M., Scherder, E. J., & Oosterlaan, J. (2013). Physical exercise and executive functions in preadolescent children, adolescents and young adults: a meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine, bjsports-2012.

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