Wearable Technology for Administrators: A Principal’s Nike Fuelband Experiment


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Committing to be an Active and Visible School Leader

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Wearable Technology for Administrators: A Principal’s Nike Fuelband Experiment

  1. 1. Wearable Technology For Administrators: A Principal's Nike Fuelband Experiment 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.
  2. 2. What this wasn't: • This wasn’t a momentary brainwave that only lasted for a week or a month. • 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 the internet. • This wasn’t a pilot project or sponsored initiative.
  3. 3. 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 parents. 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.
  4. 4. So what does this look like? 1. I set a goal of 2000 fuel points in a day (a Nike way to track activity). 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 parents. 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 inactive? 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.
  5. 5. 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.