What are the educational affordances of wearable technologies?

Matt Bower*, Daniel Sturman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

81 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


By providing users with hands-free access to contextually relevant knowledge, wearable technologies are poised to inspire a new generation of mobile learning design. However, in order for educators to harness the pedagogical opportunities of wearable technologies it is crucial for them to develop an understanding of their potentials, or 'affordances'. This paper analysed the perceptions of 66 educators from around the world who self-rated as having a 'good' or 'very good' understanding of wearable technologies to determine the key educational affordances and issues at stake. Qualitative thematic analysis of participant perceptions, as well as relevant literature, revealed fourteen affordances of wearable technologies and thirteen issues relating to their use. These clustered together into three emergent themes; 'pedagogical uses', 'educational quality' and 'logistical'. Utilising the insights of knowledgeable practitioners resulted in nine affordances and issues not identified in the literature, and within the literature there were three issues not identified by the knowledgeable practitioners. The implications of findings for the future of wearable technology learning design are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-353
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Education
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


Bibliographical note

Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Wearable technologies
  • Mobile learning
  • Affordances
  • Learning design
  • Qualitative analysis

Cite this