What is Quantified Self?


Quantified self describes the phenomenon of consumers being able to closely track data that is relevant to their daily activities through the use of technology. The emergence of wearable devices on the market such as watches, wristbands, and necklaces that are designed to automatically collect data are helping people manage their fitness, sleep cycles, and eating habits. Mobile apps also share a central role in this idea by providing easy-to-read dashboards for consumers to view and analyze their personal metrics. Empowered by these insights, many individuals now rely on these technologies to improve their lifestyle and health. Today’s apps not only track where a person goes, what they do, and how much time they spend doing it, but now what their aspirations are and when those can be accomplished. Novel devices, too, are enabling people to track their lives automatically, such as the Memoto, a camera worn around the neck that is designed to capture an image every half minute. As more people rely on their mobile devices to monitor their daily activities, data is becoming a larger part of everyday life.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • For Middle and High Schoolers, tracking their data could be tremendously useful for analyzing their behaviour. Health and fitness could go beyond the physical with an analysis being done about their online or digital behaviour. Given the dramatic increases in time spent with these devices (8-9 hours OUTSIDE of school according to recent Common Sense Media census) quantifying might help provide a starting point for discussions. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • Like Ivan said above, I see all kinds of applications of this in PE classes, not to mention Dance, Drama, and Food Tech. Many of our students are already using these devices for their personal use -- why aren't we tapping into that? Does Periscope qualify as a type of Quantified Self technology? - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • In the realm of Self-Management, an International Baccalaureate Approaches to Learning skill, tracking and providing data could be highly useful to encourage self-awareness.- ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • In terms of novel uses, I have heard about the idea of the Internet of Things providing opportunities for single purpose devices (ex. taking pictures every 15 seconds). In the right hands and with the right teacher/direction, the possibilities to produce some creative results could be very powerful. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • I see all kinds of influence on students' self-directedness and self-management. Many students are already using these devices this way -- Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc. -- to track their personal data throughout the day. However, none of that is related to teaching and learning. Could it be? What if inquiries started this way? Are we missing an opportunity? And what happens when that tiny Fitbit or Apple Watch can take photos / video surreptitiously and post to Periscope or Snapchat without anyone in the F2F environment knowing? This is an area of development I feel we need to be keeping an eye on in the next 2-4 years. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • The only similar instance I can think of is the use of RescueTime to help student self-monitor their online behaviour. We use this tool to help student get a better sense of the time they spend with their digital devices. In some instances, however, it is used to track the student when it has become apparent that they are not using their school time effectively. - ibeeckmans ibeeckmans Nov 5, 2015
  • Students at UWCSEA are using RescueTime in similar ways described by Ivan above. Our entire Grade 9 group installs it on their computers to track their usage at the start of the school year so that they can begin to self-manage and adjust for "their new HS lives." I don't know of any other specific projects, but I can report that informally, many of our MS and HS students have told us they use Fitbit data regularly to track their sleep and steps. - adrienne.michetti adrienne.michetti Nov 10, 2015

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