Wearable Technology for Administrators: A Principal’s Nike Fuelband Experiment
Wearable Technology For Administrators:
A Principal's Nike
Over the past 2 school years, I’ve been using a Nike Fuelband each
day to become a more active and visible school leader. As a
principal for an elementary school, junior kindergarten to grade 8, I
clearly outlined my goals for being out of my oﬃce and in the
hallways, playgrounds, and classrooms of the school. The goals
were communicated to staﬀ, students, and parents with an activity
tracking device that monitored my progress, which in this case was
a Nike Fuelband.
What this wasn't:
• This wasn’t a momentary brainwave that only lasted for a week or
• This wasn’t a way to use fancy new tech toy. This is a plain
device, it tells the time, tracks activity, and uploads the data to
• This wasn’t a pilot project or sponsored initiative.
What this was:
• This is a way to be accountable to my staﬀ for my actions as a
principal. For staﬀ to follow my lead, my actions must what I
hope will be mirrored. I can’t complain if staﬀ aren’t greeting
students and parents in the morning if I am in my oﬃce catching
up on email.
• This is a way to force myself to act as I believe. I believe in being
a visible principal who is engaged, outside of the principal’s
oﬃce, in the job of building relationships with students, staﬀ, and
What is an activity tracker?
An activity tracker is computer-aided monitoring and graphing of
ﬁtness-related metrics such as distance walked or run, calorie
consumption, and in some cases heartbeat and quality of sleep.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Activity_tracker). In my case, I used a
device called the Nike Fuelband. This black bracelet device, loops
on your wrist and tracks the following: ‘fuel’, calories, steps, and
time. There is an online website that, once the fuelband is
connected to the computer via USB connector and uploaded to the
internet, allows a user to set a goal for activity.
So what does this look like?
1. I set a goal of 2000 fuel points in a day (a Nike way to track
2. On my way out the door in the morning I put my Nike Fuelband.
3. Get active and move during the day. Get into the halls,
playgrounds, classrooms to interact with students, staﬀ, and
4. Tap the button on the Fuelband to see how I’m doing (there is a
row of LED lights that show your progress).
5. At the end of the day plug the Fuelband into your computer, the
data will upload. Check the graphs. When were you most active?
When were you caught in your oﬃce? Why were you active or
6. Communicate these goals and results, as appropriate to
students, staﬀ, and parents. Your community may really appreciate
you being a visible and active school leader.
Often the intangibles of being a principal are hard to achieve and
communicate to the school community. By using an activity tracker,
such as the Nike Fuelband, it helps to begin to make the intangible
element of a visible and active school leader more tangible. Am I a
better principal than others because I track my steps? No, not at
all. Does the Nike Fuelband make me a better principal? It makes
my goals more tangible, but being a principals seems too complex
to boil down to activity. I am a principal and am happy for the
nudge that the Fuelband brings. Try it, but do it for 2 years, don’t do
this as a tech fad.