Wearable Technology in the Arts

Details of an emerging collaboration with the University of Arts London

Wearable Technology in the Arts:


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Wearable technology to record and document practice may relate to several themes:

·       To help develop practice – used to help reflect on practice (self-surveillance)

·       To form practice – technology becomes artwork/part of artwork

·       To communicate practice – for assessment/presentation/dialogue


Observing making a drawing

Recording with the Go-Pro the making of an observational drawing. The recording is to observe the process not to demonstrate making a drawing. How does watching the recording enables me to reflect on my process and how can the making be incorporated into the work itself?

Visible technology interference

Today (17/10/13) I have been thinking about how some of the outputs from the process, the films and audio, are going to be incorporated into the piece as it goes along… I have been considering whether the documentation is now becoming disruptive as I am now having to consider how using technology to document the process, as well as using technology to show the process, needs to be part of the work. This led me to look into how I might make my own hidden speakers, which are constructed using conductive thread. The thread would be ‘stitched’ or worked into drawings I produce, as responses to my imagery from the books. http://www.talk2myshirt.com/blog/archives/2429 I have also borrowed a GoPro head camera to record the making of the drawings and investigated how I might use small LCD screens to display the recordings, again incorporated into the drawings (somehow).
This speaker and LCD research is possibly a form of procrastination and distraction from making. However some form of procrastination  is an important part of the making, and the thinking I am doing is a form of ‘editing’ – thinking through and rejecting ideas about what to do next, rather than just doing them. However, I try and stop myself from doing this too much as it can result in nothing getting made… This also highlights the difficulty in authentically documenting a thought process… Much of where I am now with my ideas has evolved from a lot of internal thinking as well as external discussions:
I made a decision with this experimental research to construct a piece of work from its process so I need to accept what this process is. ‘Embedding’ the technology I am using is an important element to this. The technology (film and audio) are materials and forms of expression and communication in the same way that any other materials I use are.
I am excited about how the speakers and moving imagery might ’embed’ in the drawings as this is new territory for me.

Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning

This post is an excerpt from a submitted essay for MA Online and Distance Education H808. The excerpt states my position in relation to learners’ ownership of technology-enhanced learning and uses my experiences of being a student on H808 as a context for this.

Learners now have ownership of technology-enhanced learning

Learners’ relationships with learning as well as technology will vary greatly and are dependent on social, economic, geographic factors as well as age, experience, level of course if applicable and what the expected outcomes of learning are. I consider ownership to go beyond the physical owning of technology tools and mean autonomy, control, confidence and sense of personal direction, arguably for any learning as well as technology-enhanced learning. I have interpreted technology-enhanced to mean the use of devices, tools and web that learners may use to research, communicate, store, retrieve, construct, share, develop, and reflect, information, ideas and resources.

A sense of autonomy or ownership the learner has, needs to operate within some given parameters. I would suggest that the more flexible or community based the parameters are, the more ownership the learners operating within that community will have. Because web 2.0 technologies often align so well with good pedagogy and increased participation it could be argued that there is an increased sense of ownership with technology-enhanced learning (Conole, 2008). Technology-enhanced learning environments perhaps allow students to have more ownership over their learning because of the variance and freedoms not afforded by purely face-to-face contact. It is the blend of learning, diversity and richness of environments that allow for choice and ownership and therefore has implications for practitioners in how they design and construct environments that allow this.

Although using personalised tools does not guarantee integration and full ownership within institutions, which Conole (ibid) describes as a ‘mismatch’ between what the institution may offer and what students use, learners are able to blur the social function of devices and tools with formal learning. In the context of using discussion forums, Conole states that this suggests that social networks are being created to support learning ‘tailored to their particular needs and using the technologies which suit them rather than being constrained’ (Ibid). Within the tutor group on H800 we produced a wiki page on tools and technologies, identifying whether we used them socially and/or formally.

Ownership image

Fig 1 snapshot from H800 group wiki ‘uses of mobile devices’

The section of the wiki (figure 1) shows formal and informal ways the Ipad/tablet has been used and how it crosses professional and social uses.

With many of the activities I have completed on H800 like constructing wikis, contributing to forums and blogging I would agree that collectively as a group we had more ownership over what and how we were learning together. In this sense we are learners and we have ownership over our learning so collectively as learners we have ownership but do not own it. If we consider a learners’ use and ownership of technology within the wider context of the course content, teacher and other students, which influence outcomes, the strength of ownership emerges from the strength of the content, other students and/or the teacher, ‘fundamental to Web 2.0 practice is that no one individual is expert, rather they are part of a social network’ (ibid).

I find Etienne Wenger’s (1998) ideas on communities of practice engaging and convincing, particularly that ‘communities of practice are already involved in the design of their own learning because ultimately they will decide what they need to learn’, his relationship between the local and global: ‘no community can fully design the learning of another. And at the same time: No community can fully design its own learning’ demonstrates the complex nature of relationships within the community (ibid). Applied to students’ ownership of technology-enhanced learning, students have ownership over their learning and technology-enhanced learning within the context and emerging contexts of the community of practice they belong. But the issues with this are ones ownership of learning is dependent, to a certain extent, on others in the community. When others have choices and ownership of their learning they may not be compatible. It appears that there is a tension that exists within communities that is managed outside of student choices and preferences, ultimately the role of the teacher and the assessment criteria own the process as well.

There needs to be a balance between learners having choice and freedom to construct their Personalised Learning Environments and what will work in the context of the activity, course or institution. H800 has introduced many different tools and technologies both in the context of how others learn and teach as well as how I can enhance my own learning. The ownership I have over my own technology-enhanced learning has come from the choices I have made, what I use and what I have rejected. What I choose is based on what I find appropriate at the time as well as what suits my own style of learning. However it is the guidance and structure of the course that has introduced me to most of these and it is the action of making selective choices that gives me a sense of ownership. My reasons for taking to some applications rather than others is similar to Martin Weller ‘it is a complex mix of personality, emotional response to interface, perceived need, timing, motivation’ (Weller, 2007)

With vast choices made by learners, David Hopkins (2009) blog has a collection of peoples PLEs demonstrating the diversity of PLE profiles, one of the key issues is how to integrate students constructed PLEs into institutional VLEs/LMSs to enable continued ownership over tools, resources and processes in the learning experience. The difficulty is whether this is possible, and if not, considering ways in which to make different systems work to benefit the learner. Niall Sclater describes the interoperability of PLEs into Managed Learning Systems as a ‘utopian vision’ however it is in the strategy at policy level that institutions should be prioritizing ‘enhancing flexibility and choice for learners’, (Sclater, 2008), which would suggest a shift in how students take further ownership over their own learning environments. Even if full integration is a way off, it should not be an all or nothing approach but there are implications for how the integration is designed for in activity design and assessment. One of the key issues is the loss of ownership that can occur in the transition between informal and formal learning and that it is important to examine how learners’ PLEs and learning preferences can be accommodated in the context of institutions VLEs/LMSs. This might be regarding the compatibility of tools, decisions about which tools to use or whether to minimise the functionality of a tool.

Mobile technologies and web 2.0, as previously discussed can blur the boundaries between formal and informal learning, John Pettit and Kulkuska-Hulme uses the metaphor of territories but questions whether the two can be bridged because of issues such as ownership. He makes the point that ‘being driven by users’ is one of the more distinctive and interesting aspects of web/mobile 2.0 and asks us if students are able to bridge the territories ‘will they sill enjoy- and still own – what they find on the other side? ‘(Pettit and Kulkuska-Hulme 2011 p.205) I think it could be the overlap, blurring, dovetailing or invisibility of the difference between the professional and personal that shows ownership of the learning process because it indicates the distinctions and choices that learners are making about what works best for them, what tools they use, what they use them for and with which devices and methods they access them.

The idea that ‘the curriculum becomes whatever you are interested in’ (Weller 2009), is interesting and outside of the context of an educational institution I would agree with this, web 2.0 and mobile learning have enabled learners to construct their own learning and be part of communities much more easily. However, the issues arise when you are trying to manage a group of students and/or make sure that assessment objectives are met through the learning outcomes. Students may have more ownership of the technology that enhances their learning because the methods and experiences align well with good practice, but unless this can be recognised in more formal ways to meet assessment and learning outcomes it becomes problematic. (Conole 2008). In a recent white paper it was stated that ‘the challenge of education is no longer about delivery of knowledge: it is about designing environments, tools and activities for learners to construct knowledge’ (Mwanza-Simwami et al, 2011 p.5) the key issue is how to design for students so they can construct their learning.

Therefore, ownership of technology needs to be guided and facilitated ‘Learners can, of course, interact directly with content that they find in multiple formats, and especially on the web, however many choose to have their learning sequenced, directed, and credentialed through the assistance of a teacher’ (Anderson 2003 p.9). The teacher through quality control, support, assessment, guidance, structure, motivation, organisation, navigation and signposting help the learner to take ownership over their technology-enhanced learning. It is teachers who design or provide the initial context for learning to happen; ‘a context has to be reconstructed and participation invited through the use of activities, structured formats (…) these opportunities for new modes of learning and engagement require a conceptualisation of technology as embedded in practices through which contexts for learning are constructed’ (Thorpe, 2009 p. 130).

The implications are that levels of support need to be robust but sensitive enough to cater for the differing needs of learners and give students confidence so that increased autonomy and ownership can be developed. There are an overwhelming amount of technology tools on the web and learners need to be introduced to them in order for them to make their choices, this in a sense is helping learners to construct their own PLEs – ‘The process and tools are overwhelming to students if presented all at once. As with any instructional design, the teacher determines the pace at which the students best assimilate each new learning tool.’(Drexler, 2010). Students need to be introduced to different tools and methods and encouraged to take ownership outside of their usual choices, skills for improved ownership;

  • Networking presence
  • Collaborating
  • Triangulating evidence
  • Contributing to forums/online discussion
  • Drilling down into sources
  • Using digital libraries
  • Using social media for research

In the context of learning that will be assessed within an institution, ownership is something that needs to be permitted, supported and perhaps negotiated to some extent. John Pettit describes this as ‘complexities of power and ownership that practitioners need to negotiate if they are to create institutional spaces where learners can find their own voice.’ (Pettit, 2009).


A2d: Sclater/Weller podcast (2009), ‘Speakers: John Pettit, Martin Weller and Niall Sclater’, podcast The Open University. Available from http://learn2.open.ac.uk/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=13610&section=4.5 (accessed 8 August 2012)

Albion, P.R., Loch, B., Mula, J.M. and Maroulis, J. (2010) ‘Preparedness for flexible access to learning materials: how ready are university students and staff?’ in Steel, C.H., Keppell, M.J., Gerbic, P. and Housego, S. (eds) Curriculum, Technology and Transformation for an Unknown Future, Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010 (pp.25–35). Available from http://www.ascilite.org.au/ conferences/ sydney10/ Ascilite%20conference%20proceedings%202010/ Albion-full.pdf

Anderson, T. (2003) ‘Getting the mix right again: an updated and theoretical rationale for interaction’, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol.4, no.2; also available online at http://www.irrodl.org/ index.php/ irrodl/ article/ view/ 149

Beetham, H. (2005) ‘Personalization in the curriculum: a view from learning theory’, in C. Yapp and S. de Freitas (eds) Personalizing Learning in the 21st Century, London: Network Education Press, pp. 17–24.

Beetham, H. (2007) ‘An approach to learning activity design’ in Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R. (eds) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, pp.26–40, Oxford, RoutledgeFalmer.

Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R. (2007) ‘An introduction to rethinking pedagogy for a digital age’ in Beetham, H. and Sharpe, R. (eds) Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age: Designing and Delivering E-learning, Abingdon, Routledge.

Conole, G. (2011) ‘Stepping over the edge: the implications of new technologies for education’ in Lee, M.J.W. and McLoughlin, C. (eds) Web 2.0-based E-learning: Applying Social Informatics for Tertiary Teaching, Hershey, PA, IGI Global; also available online at http://www.igi-global.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ gateway/ contentowned/ chapter.aspx?titleid=45034&accesstype=infosci

Conole, G. (2008) ‘New schemas for mapping pedagogies and technologies’, Ariadne, Issue 56, July 2008, http://routes.open.ac.uk/ ixbin/ hixclient.exe?_IXDB_=routes&_IXSPFX_=g&submit-button=summary&%24+with+res_id+is+res20020

Conole, G., Laat, Maarten de, Dillon, T. and Darby, J. (2008) ‘“Disruptive technolgies”, “pedagogical innovation”: What’s new? Findings from an in-depth study of students’ use and perception of technology’ Computers and Education, vol. 50, pp. 511-524

Drexler, W. (2010)The networked student model for construction of personal learning environments: Balancing teacher control and student autonomy’. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 26(3), 369-385. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet26/drexler.html

Economic and Social Research Council (2008) ‘Education 2.0? Designing the Web for Teaching and Learning, a Commentary by the Technology Enhanced Learning phase of the Teaching and Learning Research programme’, Economic and Social Research Council; also available online at http://www.tlrp.org/ pub/ documents/ TELcomm.pdf

Haythornthwaite, C. (2008) ‘Ubiquitous Transformations’. Paper presented at the ‘Making the Transition to Ubiquitous Learning’ symposium for the Networked Learning Conference, Halkidiki, Greece, May 5–6, 2008.

HEFCE (2009) ‘Enhancing learning and teaching through the use of technology.  A revised approach to HEFCE’s strategy for e-learning’  Accessed from www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2009/09_12/

Hopkins, D.  2009 ‘PLE / Personal Learning Environment: What’s yours like?’ blog entry posted 10 December 2009. Available from http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/web-2-0/ple-personal-learning-environment-whats-yours-like/ (accessed 4 August 2012)

Kukulska-Hulme, A., Pettit, J., Bradley, L., Carvalho, A.A., Herrington, A., Kennedy, D. and Walker, A. (2011) ‘Mature students using mobile devices in life and learning’, International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, vol.3, no.1, pp.18–52; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.4018/ jmbl.2011010102

Laing, C., Robinson, A., Johnson, V. (2005). ‘Managing the Transition into Higher Education: An on-line Spiral Induction’ Active Learning in Higher Education. 6 (3), 243-255.

Luckin, R., du Boulay, B., Smith, H., Underwood, J., Fitzpatrick, G., Holmberg, J., Kerawalla, L., Tunley, H., Brewster, D. & Pearce, D. (2005). ‘Using Mobile Technology to Create Flexible Learning Contexts’ Journal of Interactive Media in Education  2005(22).

Minocha, S. and Thomas, P.S. (2007) ‘Collaborative learning in a wiki environment: experiences from a software engineering course’, New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia, vol.13, no.2, pp.187–209; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://www.tandfonline.com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ doi/ abs/ 10.1080/ 13614560701712667

Mwanza-Simwami , Daisy; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes; Clough, Gill; Whitelock, Denise; Ferguson, Rebecca and Sharples, Mike (2011). ‘Methods and models of next generation technology enhanced learning – White Paper’. In: Alpine Rendezvous 2011, 28-29 March 2011, La Clusaz, France. Accessed online http://oro.open.ac.uk.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/29056/1/Methods_and_models_of_next_generation_TEL.pdf

Pettit, J. and Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2011) ‘Mobile 2.0: crossing the border into formal learning?’ in Lee, M.J.W. and McLoughlin, C. (eds) Web 2.0-based E-learning: Applying Social Informatics for Tertiary Teaching, Hershey, PA, IGI Global.

Pettit, J. (2009). ‘The cachet of constraint: learners, ownership and power’. In Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009.


Revere, L, Kovach. J V. (2011) ‘ Online Technologies for Engaged Learning A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators Online’ Technologies for Engaged Learning The Quarterly Review of Distance Education Vol. 12, No. 2, 2011

Sclater, N. (2008) ‘Web 2.0, Personal Learning Environments, and the Future of Learning Management Systems’, Educause Center for Applied Research, Research Bulletin, vol. 2008, no.13.

Selwyn, N. (2008) ‘An investigation of differences in undergraduates’ academic use of the internet’, Active Learning in Higher Education, vol.9, no.11, pp.11–22; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/ 1469787407086744

Thorpe, M. (2009) ‘Technology-mediated learning contexts’ in Edwards, R., Biesta G. and Thorpe, M. (eds) Rethinking Contexts for Learning and Teaching, London, Routledge, pp.119–32.

Thorpe, M. (2008). ‘Effective online interaction: Mapping course design to bridge from research to practice’. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 24(1), 57-72. http://www.ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet24/thorpe.html

Vernon, J. 2012 ‘What’s your ‘personal learning environment’ or PLE? Is it like Facebook? Will it change with fashion?’ blog entry posted 18 June 2012. Available from http://mymindbursts.com/2012/06/18/whats-your-personal-learning-environment-or-ple-is-it-like-facebook-will-it-change-with-fashion/ (accessed 4 August 2012)

Weller, M. (2009) ‘Using learning environments as a metaphor for educational change’, On the Horizon.

Weller, M. (2007) ‘My personal work/leisure/learning environment’, blog entry posted 6 December 2007. Available from http://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/no_good_reason/2007/12/my-personal-wor.html (Accessed 12 August 2012)

Wenger, E. (1998) Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


Case studies

As part of my role as Information Learning Technologist Specialist Practitioner I have been developing some case studies on how staff currently use technology in their teaching practice. The case studies serve to highlight the good practice that exists within the college as well as to inspire and introduce different technology tools. They examine the affordances certain tools have in terms of supporting teaching and learning: the benefits, difficulties and issues that exist when trying different tools and methods. the first one is based on a colleagues experience of using Voicethread with her learners:

A VoiceThread is a collaborative, multimedia slide show that can show images, documents, and videos.  It allows people to navigate slides and leave comments in different ways; using voice (with a mic or telephone), writing text, audio file, or video (via a webcam). It allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place from anywhere in the world.

Context in Classroom

Dr Val Jessop has been using VoiceThread with her students in a variety of ways. Val asked students from her B.A (Hons) English Language and Literature Studies course to debate utopian and dystopian views on e-literacies as part of their Language, Identity and Representation module. Val started the debate with a typed explanation of what the terms mean and additional questions as prompts for students to add their own views. Students engaged with the tool and process and were able to add their views simultaneously; the synchronous approach enabled students to explore the tool with guidance and demonstrated a different way to exchange ideas. There were students absent who were able to sign in and see what discussion had taken place and also contribute their own views so a good tool for inclusivity.

Some students found the usability of the tool challenging and became frustrated that they were not able to get the tool to work for them, however they were able to see the views of others being exchanged. The students felt this was a fundamental flaw of technology, particularly VoiceThread, in fact the use of the tool became part of their active debate! Their feedback raises the issue of how we integrate the use of different technology tools in teaching and learning and that our lesson design and course design to some extent needs to have the infrastructure in place to teach students how to use the technology itself. The students were exposed to an interesting method of debate and in a sense the ‘medium is the message’ in that some students’ dystopian views of technology were confirmed by their experience of using it. However, with reflection students saw the benefit of having collaboratively constructed a resource and could see the potential for revision later on.

The students used the typing function rather than recording their voices mainly because they were in one room, however confidence in recording ones own voice can also be a barrier. However when this element was discussed with students they did feel that ‘tone of voice’ and being able to emphasise points could be communicated more successfully in this way. Val intends to develop her use of Voice Thread by using it to create resources; uploading a poem that gets deconstructed over a series of explanations.


Voicethread is a tool that gives students choice and ownership over how they interact and contribute to a resource. The integration of audio and or video with online instruction ‘promotes higher levels of student engagement and may lead to increased student satisfaction and enhanced learning experiences.’(Revere and Kovach 201, p.120). Many technology tools align well with good pedagogy, Voicethread can be used as reflective tool for the individual or used collaboratively and ‘provides an easy way for students to listen to and add to the work of their peers [which] may encourage more authentic peer assessment.’ (Educause 2009).


  • It can be embedded onto your Moodle pages
  • Can be used synchronously/asynchronously
  • Learners have a choice over how they record their comments
  • No software to install.
  • Threads can be exported to MP3 players or DVDs to play as archival movies.
  • Quick to create a resource that can be used and developed

Try it out:



Educause (2009), 7 Things You Should Know About VoiceThread, Education Learning Initiative http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/7-things-you-should-know-about-voicethread, last accessed 23 October 2012

Revere, L, Kovach. J V. (2011) ‘ Online Technologies for Engaged Learning A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators Online’ Technologies for Engaged Learning The Quarterly Review of Distance Education Vol. 12, No. 2, 2011