Note: This is the first in what appears to be 10(11…12..I keep adding) blog topics I have compiled after the 2014 Ohio Educational Technology Conference. Each blog post related to the conference will be tagged OETC14
In March 2013 I debated back and forth over a purchase. The purchase was for a $100 device from a company called Fitbit. The company has devices that pair (One) with your desktop and mobile device that tracks all sorts of information related to the number of steps taken, miles travelled, active minutes, sleep pattern and more. I kept coming back to the question of if I would actually use the device and would I see any changes in my behaviors. The answer to the two questions I had starting out were answered. I saw my weight drop nearly 20 pounds then go back up 10 pounds but it was a major step. I also saw myself become aware of the counter and always wanting to try and hit at least 5,000 steps while the goal was 10,000 steps. A few weeks into 2014, I received a report from Fitbit that told me I had walked 843 miles in 293 days. That came out to an average of 2.87 miles a day.
I was also fearful that I would put the device through the washer as is common with me and lip balm. Thankfully I can report that it was not the washer the brought up this blog post but instead me loosing the device somewhere between the Hyatt Regency, Columbus Convention Center, Barley’s and Nationwide Arena. When I realized that I had lost the device…panic set in on two fronts. The first front was that I had lost a $100 device. That was $100 hard earned dollars gone. The second panic that set in was that I wasn’t going to hit my step goal for today (I was at 7,000ish) because it couldn’t track my steps. This made me mad because I always want to hit my goals and especially when I am close to hitting my goal.
I realized that this device had become a part of me in every sense of the manner. It wasn’t embedded in me but it had become a part of me. It drove my decisions on a daily basis in a positive manner to a degree. It changed behaviors for me that were healthier than previous behaviors. I took the stares as much as possible, walked the longer route at lunch etc. All of this through a device and an app on my phone. That is a powerful realization. There was no hesitation on my part this time when I got home that evening just 7 hours after loosing the device and promptly order a new device. The first time I made the decision I took almost two weeks before I pressed the purchase button. This time I went with the Fitbit Flex. It attaches to your wrist.
How could wearable technology be used in schools? In one of my graduate school courses, I am working on developing a lesson using this technology that addresses Technology, Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts, Health and Physical Education courses. The premise is that this device can be used in a real life situation while bringing all of these subjects under a single project. Once that lesson is finished I will post it to the blog here to share with the world.