Jun 07 2016

Wearables Market Grows As the Technology’s Impact Becomes Clear

Driving student engagement on college campuses, smartwatches and other wearables will gain traction in the education market.

Wearables’ mounting popularity may soon carry over to college campuses.

New research indicates that the U.S. market for classroom wearables could climb nearly 46 percent annually, reaching $4 billion by 2020. At the same time, the global market could grow 36 percent per year, to exceed $6 billion in revenue.

Technology research and advisory company Technavio, which published the findings, attributes the steady surge to today’s education trends.

“With the rise in digitalization in education, schools and institutions have adopted digital tools and gadgets such as tablets and e-learning modules to enhance student engagement,” a press release states. “The adoption of wearable technology has improved the engagement in ways that were previously not possible.”

According to Technavio, higher ed institutions adopt wearable technology more readily than K–12 schools and districts, although both segments pull from the same list of vendors, notably Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Fitbit.

Technavio posits that devices from these vendors will become more common on campuses as prices drop and bulk purchases become more feasible for institutions.

In the meantime, some colleges and universities are placing the financial responsibility on the student. Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Okla., requires incoming freshman to purchase and wear Fitbit’s popular fitness-tracking technology to record their steps — with a goal of at least 10,000 per day. The university then integrates the data into its grade book via the learning management system.

Prior to the implementation of the Fitbit policy, students tracked their fitness data by hand.

“We are excited to offer this cutting-edge technology that will enhance our on-campus student’s experience and increase the convenience of our fitness programs,” said ORU Provost Kathaleen Reid-Martinez in a post on the university’s website.

Although the rise of wearables creates exciting opportunities for higher ed, it also generates more opportunities for hackers to access campus networks. Higher ed IT leaders will have to keep these privacy and security concerns in mind when determining how wearables will fit into their institutions’ future.


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