Penn state asks if the Apple Watch can influence student achievement

“We are excited to examine how the Apple Watch can reach and engage learners,” said Rayne Sperling, associate professor of educational psychology and director of undergraduate and graduate studies, educational psychology, counseling, and special education (EPCSE) at Penn State.

“We will be using the Apple Watch as a new mechanism to provide academic scaffolds that target students’ monitoring of their learning and academic progress as well as specific strategies students can use as they learn course content. In working with instructors, we hope to discover opportunities for practice and feedback through the Watch. These technologies hold great promise to provide additional support to assist students as they navigate their academic experiences.”

As a 2015 Faculty Fellow with Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT), a unit of Information Technology Services at Penn State, Sperling will conduct a pilot over the course of the summer followed by design experiments and large scale studies through the 2015-2016 academic year to examine the impact and effectiveness of delivering self-regulated learning supports through wearable devices.

“Wearable devices are unique because they can co-exist with the student, in a virtually transparent way, at the moment of learning,” said TLT’s Kyle Bowen.

“Using mobile devices, like smart phones and tablets, enables students to consume information and create content. Wearable technologies, like the Apple Watch, enable a new layer of reflection that students can use to evaluate their learning experiences,” he added.

Comparing the results of the pilot to delivering similar supports via existing mechanisms such as course management sites will help Sperling gain a better understanding regarding technologies that support student academic success. This information will provide a foundation for future efforts that leverage wearable technologies to improve instruction and learning.

Teaching and Learning with Technology works to guide Penn State University in the appropriate use of technology to enrich teaching and learning.

Laura Ascione