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EdTech Update




« BFTP: Old folks and technology | Main | Tech Trends for 2015 - I wish »

An educational Fitbit?

My daughter and son-in-law got Fitbit wristbands for Christmas. These small, simple devices track one's physical activity, number of steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, and monitor one's sleep patterns. (Much discussion around "How does it know I am asleep?) Others versiojs monitor heart rate and who knows what else. 

Many of us like to know our personal metrics and use them as motivation to improve. Outdoing one another and issuing challenges and taunts were already part of the Fitbit experience in the first couple days of use while the kids were visiting. I understand the motivating faction as an avid user of MapMyWalk on my phone, charting number of books read on Goodreads, weight loss (I wish) by stepping on the scale each morning, and tracking my financial health using online access to my 401 accounts. It's fun to keep track.

As more educators recognize the power of gaming (really just using metrics in an agreed upon manner to judge performance), how long will it be before we see a Fitbit-type device tied to a school's LMS? Or does such a creature already exist? I know IXL Math and MyOn Reader both allow students to track their own progress - or at least number of problems solved or pages turned.

What other ways might students be able to monitor their own academic pursuits to improve their academic health? Numbers of ...


  • Pages read
  • Math problems solved
  • Words written
  • Lines of code written
  • Graphics edited
  • Movies made
  • Hours of educational games played
  • Any higher order thinking activities done???


Is there the mental equivalent of laying on the couch eating junk food while watching mindless television? Wait, that's probably bad for you both mentally and physically. Fitbits do a good job for many getting people moving their bods. Can we create a similar device to get kids to move their minds as well?

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Reader Comments (4)

Nice idea. My first reaction was using something like this for on task behavior. I like the movement toward collaboration, creation and higher level thinking in the last few ideas. The cynic in me also started thinking about:
-Lectures listened to
-Pages of notes taken
-bubbles filled in
-bullets viewed
Perhaps they could then be used by teachers to gather data on pedagogy and improve...

As always, thanks for the thought provoking post!

January 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Walker

HI Mike,

Yeah, a device like might make us all think harder about what can and cannot be measured that is of educational value. I believe in time for reflection, but is that something that can be quantified? I believe in quality communications and collaboration? ​Can we measure that?

So you wouldn't count (lectures listened to) TED Talks as having educational value?

Happy New Year!


Hi Dean,

Thanks for the link. I agree we need to do a better job of having our students "own"​ much more of their own educational experience. Our education is ultimately up to each of us.

Happy New Year,


January 3, 2015 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

I do find value in a good lecture. I was thinking of it more from the standpoint of recording the frequency of ANY pedagogy. I should have also asked "How many things created in a Makerspace" as well!

January 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Walker

This is a great information and really helpful post. Thanks to share this.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMicheal Elijah

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