Xavier University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 2882-2887
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1643
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
Wearable technologies and personal analytics have been populating the market for over a decade and have gained momentum in the past few years as the ‘internet of things’ and the conversation of big data consume leaders and consumers alike. Johnson et al (2014) suggest that wearable devices such as watches, wristbands, and glasses are tracking personal activities and well-being for further enrichment of individual life. Personal data from these devices is being used to help consumers manage their fitness, sleeping and eating habits and has even worked its way to the video gaming industry by matching competitors in fitness and wellbeing competitions. The main players in the field of self-tracking include health and fitness companies. However, it can and has the potential to be applied in many other industries.

From an academic perspective, questions arise such as: can this self-tracking technology sink its teeth into the educational market? Can parents of students be placed at ease when they can access their child’s whereabouts and monitor learning activities as they apply themselves in school? Would teachers and faculty use self-tracking technologies to track student behavior and student self-awareness as it relates to best practices for student success and retention? Starting from individual student success, the benefits of these technologies can influence strategic planning in educational institutions as well. The wealth of data gathered about a specific student population or individual could be analyzed to showcase the health of an educational institution. Furthermore, profiling students based on social, educational, wellness portfolios can create and target student segments that can be used for marketing and for increasing overall student enrollments.

While there are many benefits to be gained by all stakeholders when applying self-tracking software in academia, there are major issues as well. The ethical and privacy concerns raised from the use of tracking data to change student behavior are grave and they are a major barrier to self-tracking technology adoption in an educational setting. However, the trend to use more big data based analytics for education institute success is increasing. The collection and use of self-tracking data in an ethical manner requires careful consideration when making the decision to use these technologies in education. This research highlights the advantages, disadvantages as well as a case study that highlights the challenges in creating the quantified student in academia.
Self tracking, internet of things, big data, student retention.