Wearable technology and the enhancement of 21st century skills

Written by Dr Jason Konrath

 

Dr_Jason_Konrath-1I recently had the pleasure of being an invited speaker at the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) conference. Here I gave a presentation on wearable technology in physical education, during which I also provided an engaging demonstration of the Xsens DOT and how it can be integrated into their respective teaching curriculums. A strong focus of the conference was for students to be able to utilize digital technologies towards achieving personal and educational goals, as well as apply this knowledge in research and classroom practice. Further, to emphasize the enhancement of 21st century skills, the development of technological literacy, and the creation of technology tools for creative purposes and solving problems as they emerge.                                                                                        

Recent times have shown an enormous uptake in the use and application of wearable technologies, we see it from wristwatches to wearable devices. In particular, wearable motion trackers are taking up much of the spotlight. Measuring human movement allows us to build solutions in applications spanning medical, sport and ergonomics to name a few. Already widely used in film productions and gaming to bring your favourite animated character or athlete to life, or professional athletes using motion sensors to enhance their performance. Wearable technology applications are only limited by the extent of our imagination.

With this in mind, it was our intention to inspire a new generation of students to create the jobs of tomorrow, that no-one knows about today. To this end, we set about creating tools that would allow them to work directly with these technologies and give them a real life feel for a Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) career. Moreover, the ability to work hands on with the technology can improve understanding. If students hear something, they forget it. If they see it, they remember it. If they do it, they understand it. We believe motion trackers offer a unique experience to learn lessons across a range of topics, including physical education, mathematics and the sciences. 

Written in accordance with the syllabus of the Australian Tertiary Admission Ranking outcomes, we created support material to allow both researchers and educators to integrate the Xsens DOT into their educational programs. Part of this support material includes a theoretical framework where we cover the various theoretical aspects of Biomechanics and its associated fields. Biomechanics is a field that integrates components of mechanics with biology and requires an interdisciplinary approach. This makes it an excellent teaching topic, as it involves lessons in human biology to encompass functional anatomy and physiology, as well as lesson in physics and mathematics, with human movement being the application of the taught principles.

In addition to gaining an understanding of these theoretical concepts, we have created practical lessons for students to follow, which enables them to work directly with the technology to enhance their understanding. From the inner workings of each sensor component, to creating linked moving segment models, to creating anatomical models, as well as how to apply the data to a specific user case. Finally, field-based assignments can be performed to enhance student’s ability to collect, analyse and report data, with assessment criteria provided. Collectively, this allows a robust educational framework to provide students with a real-life feel for a career in STEM. The curriculum can simply be followed from start to finish, or relevant pieces of the support material can be used and integrated into your specific STEM discipline.

 

Xsens DOT educational curriculum 

So, if you were looking for ways to make the learning process interesting, fun and application-oriented in STEM education. Consider adding the  Xsens DOT to your curriculum. Importantly, you will give your students the opportunity to enhance their 21st century skills. Download the free Xsens DOT educational curriculum below. 

Download Xsens DOT Educational Curriculum here