The Latest Campus Fashion: Wearable Technology
Step into a college classroom, and you’re likely to find a handful of students sporting the latest campus fashion—that is, wearable technology. Wearable technology started out as something only for those who were serious about fitness or just have to have the latest gadgets. Now it’s hit the mainstream and can be spotted all over college campuses.
Wearable technology can be used for a variety of purposes. Most common are fitness trackers, which have taken over the tech world. Fitness trackers, like the popular FitBit, are more than just fancy pedometers. While they do track the number of steps you take, many are stepping up their game and keeping track of heart rate, calories burned, and even sleep patterns. These advanced features have made fitness trackers a trend on college campuses and elsewhere.
There’s more to wearable technology than just fitness tracking, though. Smart watches have taken the world by storm, too. More than just a watch, smart watches are like an extension of your cell phone. They can send and receive text messages, use certain apps, and more. Smart watches are making college students even more connected than ever, as they no longer even have to take their phone out of their pocket to do these things.
Although fitness trackers and smart watches are popular on college campuses, their academic applications are somewhat limited. Fitness trackers can certainly be useful for gathering data when studying how the human body responds to something. Smart watches could also help with data collection, but otherwise, they’re primarily useful for social purposes.
Other wearable technologies, however, such as virtual or augmented reality, may prove to be a vital part of higher education in the near future. While you might not see college students walking around with virtual reality headsets on, they have a wide variety of uses in the classroom. Virtual reality allows students to practice skills in real-world settings without venturing out of the classroom. Though virtual reality can’t replace real world experience, it can be a useful tool.
Augmented reality may well be the most exciting example of wearable technology seen on college campuses. Most of the world got its first glimpse of the possibilities that augmented reality brought when Google announced their Glass project. An ambitious idea, Glass aimed to make an augmented reality system that could be worn like a regular pair of glasses. Though it never achieved mainstream success, Glass got people thinking about augmented reality in a new way.
In the future, college campuses are likely to be filled with students utilizing some type of augmented reality. Devices could be used to enhance a professor’s lectures by providing additional material, or they could personalize the learning experience for each student by presenting them with their own unique view of what’s happening in the classroom. Since augmented reality devices can be worn around, students could take the tools used in the classroom everywhere they go—whether that means capturing video or interacting with the world in a new way.
In truth, we won’t know what exciting possibilities augmented reality, and other wearable technologies hold for college campuses until they become more widely used. Wearable tech is certainly a hot trend on campuses around the globe right now, and it’s beginning to make its way from the gym to the classroom. As more colleges begin to incorporate wearable technology into academics, there are sure to be new applications for wearable technology that have not yet been discovered.
What really matters isn’t that colleges are using wearable technology, but how they’re using it. Unless wearable technology is used to truly enhance academic experiences and not simply as a fancy new toy, this trend won’t last.
Have you seen wearable technology on campuses near you? How do you envision colleges using wearable technology? Share your thoughts with us.