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April 27, 2015updated 22 Sep 2016 11:48am

10 ways wearables will revolutionise education

Virtual experts, walking Tudor streets - anything could be possible in the classroom of the future.

By Joao Lima

There has been a lot of hype surrounding wearables.

Smartwatches, fitness bands and smart glasses led consumers to question what they can really get out of this technology.

The five main fitness wearable form factors are smart wristbands, sports watches, other fitness monitors, heart rate monitor chest straps and smart garments.

As wearables sales slow down in 2015 (68 million units), do not be fooled. Next year a record number of nearly 92 million devices will be making their way to users’ wrists, faces, ankles and other body parts.

Angela McIntyre, research director at Gartner said: "Consumers will be able to integrate the data from most wearables into a single account where their data can be analysed using cognisant computing to provide useful insights to wearers.

"Funding initiatives from Qualcomm, Apple (HealthKit), Google (Google Fit), Samsung (S.A.M.I.), Microsoft, Nike and Intel, among others, will build on early innovation in wearable fitness and health monitoring and create the infrastructure for merging data relevant to health and fitness."

In addition to being able to track heart rates and count the number of steps of a user, wearables will revolutionise different aspects of everyday life, from sports to health, education to security.

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Bellow are ten ways in which wearables will change the way pupils learn in an education – from primary schools to higher education.

1. Connecting pupils

Systems to connect teachers to students have been taking over schools in the last few years with platforms designed to help with homework assignments to school interaction.

Wearables will enhance this by allowing students to share questions or work with their teacher in order to get faster replies.

Teachers will be able to get in touch with their students to alert them of any last minute room change or class cancelation with a set of tasks to do during that gap.

2. Facial recognition

Facial recognition will save teachers time and will make students feel more welcomed and included.

Armed with a pair of Google Glasses for example, lecturers with hundreds of students will be able to call them by their names as the inbuilt app, which recognises faces, will tell the user the names of those in the audience.

No matter if there are 20 or 2000 people in the room, teachers will always know the name of who wants to ask a question and even possibly view a small profile of that same student.

3. Virtual reality

Virtual reality will open many doors in many different fields, especially education.

Visiting sites will be completely different in the classroom of the future.

People in Sydney, for instance, could show the city to students seated in a primary school in Wales.

Or for political university students, they could visit conflict zones like Kiev in 2013 to see and understand how protests influence politics.

Currently, the only technology out there to do this at a close to real scale is Google Glasses. Samsung is close approaching with the recent launch of Samsung’s VR collection allowing 360 degrees environments to be created using the Note 4 as a canvas.

The company is also developing smart contact lenses that will build an even more realistic experience to users.

4. Sports training

Everyone remembers that football pass that took months to come out perfect. Looking at someone doing it is not quite the same as doing it yourself.

Using technology like Google Glasses for example, a coach can show a technique to his students via the device.

Either kicking a ball or rowing down the Thames, pupils will see exactly what their teacher sees and does to recreate the movements and faster sports learning.

5. Augmented Reality

3D, 4D and even 5D will recreate many opportunities for pupils.

A history book in the future will not just show 2D pictures and plain text. It will be built to display 3D images and even videos that will play through a pair of 3D glasses.

Some e-books already have the technology to display 3D content and interacted with the reader.

6. Learning Apps

Learning applications are not something new but the way wearables will utilise them to teach students will be the next great classroom revolution.

Apps are at the core of technologies used by most (smartphones, wearables, and many others). Apps like Mathway for example, can give the answer to a mathematical problem but will not show how to solve it.

Other applications such as the Streetmuseum iOS app lets students walk through the streets of London and see how they looked in the past.

There is an endless set of apps for education currently being rethought to function on wearables.

7. Safety

Using wearables to recreate dangerous experiments will keep students safe, especially in laboratories.

For example, a chemistry class in Edinburgh might witness firsthand the collision between electrons with a real scientist transmitting to the pupils Google Glass device.

Wearable tech will also give teachers the opportunity to keep track of their students at school or during field trips.

By wearing a bracelet or a device inspired by Misfit’s solution – a small device used for fitness activities that doesn’t need to be charged – real time maps can be populated with students to see where they are.

8. Use experts

Teachers know a lot but not everything, but experts "visiting" the classroom could give a full briefing to students on a range of topics.

As mobile technology evolves and new solutions are being explored for wearables, kids all over will no longer face barriers when it comes to knowledge.

A class in Liverpool might not know a single word of Korean, but that will not stop Samsung’s CEO telling them how their smartwatch measures their heartbeat through inbuilt sensors.

9. Experimental

Experimental learning will gain a completely new set of features as wearable devices become more mainstream amongst younger generations.

Using virtual and augmented reality, students will see things that they would have never been able to see because they were either too dangerous or expensive for the school to cover.

10. Navigation

Everyone has studied somewhere where they lost themselves in the complex or campus.

Designed for big scale schools and universities, institutions will use wearables to guide students around the campus.

For example, in a university that has put together several buildings throughout the years, confusions are more likely to appear.

With a pair of Google Glasses, a smartwatch or even a ‘human sat nav’ the university could guide each one of the students through the corridors and help them get to lesson in time.

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