This paper aims to discuss research and design of learning activities involving activity tracking and wearable activity tracking technology.
Three studies are summarized as part of a program of research that sought to design new learning activities for classroom settings. The first used data from a qualitative interview study of adult athletes who self-track. The second used video excerpts from a designed learning activity with a group of fifth grade elementary students. The third study draws largely on quantitative assessment data from an activity tracking unit enactment in a rural sixth grade class.
Activity tracking appears to provide opportunities for establishing benchmarks and calibration opportunities related to intensity of physical activities. Those features of activity tracking can be leveraged to develop learning activities where elementary students discover features of data and how data are affected by different distributions. Students can show significant improvement related to statistical reasoning in classroom instructional units that centralize the use of self-tracked data.
As activity tracking is becoming a more ubiquitous practice with increased pervasiveness and familiarity with mobile and wearable technologies, this paper demonstrates a topical intersection between the information and learning sciences, illustrates how self-tracking can be recruited for instructional settings, and it discusses concerns that have emerged in the past several years as the technology related to activity tracking begins to be used for educational purposes.
Members of the research team who contributed substantially to the work described here include Joel Drake, Ryan Cain, Jeffrey Thayne, Mary Briggs, Kylie Williamson, Michelle Berry, Ralph Trumble, Brad Buccambuso, Jon Thomas, Ani Aghababyan and Scott Smith. The author thanks Rebecca Reynolds and anonymous reviewers for feedback on earlier drafts. The author is grateful to teachers, students and participants in the various studies described. The work presented in this article was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL-1054280. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.
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