A focus in Doug Hartman’s Research on Literacy and Technology class (CEP 981) is on methodological tools for data collection. As such when we met Monday night, Doug introduced us to Memoto – a lifeblogging tool that captures an image every 30 seconds.
What does that mean? What are the implications of such a tool? Yes, the possibilities are endless. Just imagine having bits and pieces of your life documented through 30-second interval snapshots. What stories would that series tell? What would you do with these searchable and shareable moments?
The truth of the matter is, these “moments” are data captured in their purest form. In fact, this is a movement known as the Quantified Self.
The Quantified Self is the use of wearable technology to collect data from every aspect of your life. Essentially, every single sensory input would be measured, recorded, and subsequently analyzed. So forget about Big Brother as you literally start conducting surveillance on yourself.
Memoto is just the tip of the iceberg as there are wearable tools out there now (e.g., Nike+ FuelBand) or coming soon to a store near you (e.g., Google Glass) that allow you to almost unmediatedly and certainly uninterruptedly record measures such as how much oxygen you’re breathing in, how fast is your heart beating, what are you looking at right now…
As cool and beneficial (and arguably fashionable) as these devices will be, the question that all educators possibly ought to ask is: How can these devices be repurposed for educational practices and research?
Here’s a tip from Doug Hartman on how to think about this timely question: Find an existing study you would want to replicate using the wearable data collection device in question. In fact, when Doug asked us: What are the literacy research uses for a digital technology such as Memoto?, he suggested that he would replicate this study:
Anderson, R. C., Wilson, P. T., & Fielding, L. G. (1988). Growth in reading and how children spend their time outside of school. Reading Research Quarterly, 23(3), 285-303.
In short, instead of thinking what you can do with these tools, start by thinking about what could have been done with them in the past.
Image adapted from here.