Research Summary

INTRODUCTION

My first declaration for the reader is that, yes, at differing points in time I have prototyped, developed, researched, implemented, marketed, sold and supported the proliferation of wearable technologies. These have included location enabled body worn technologies, systems and related agencies of identity, data and live-time locational whereabouts.

As this short chapter will detail, I have moved from a fanboy, "drinking-the-koolaid" educational technologist geek to a position of PhD candidate researcher, invested in better understanding the implications and likely wider impacts of those technologies across society more broadly.

As a long term IEEE SSIT member (and Web Administrator) I'm committed to tracking and keeping abreast of these emergent technologies from information systems, engineering and social impact perspectives.

BACKGROUND

Unbeknown's to many people I have been involved in the research, development and direct application of wearable technologies in the education, training and information communication technology context since 1998.  

My first engagement with wearable (luggable and bearable technologies) was a Protection Care Worker and Education Officer with the Department of Family and Children welfare services, principally an integrated body worn mobile and pager alert device in 1997 / 98. I had in my charge Wards of the State and my role was to investigate truancy (in conjunction with police), on call incidents, juvenile justice programs all which depended on highly dependable ICT systems.

I recall also wearing networked, satellite body worn magnetometers as part of my role with mining company projects in and around Meekatharra, WA prospecting for vanadium and iron ore deposits in 1998 - 2000.

Through 2000 - 2003 I was involved in many differing digital arts projects that integrated the early internet with art installations with people including Stellarc, Victoria Vesna, Ric Rue, Robert Muir. With the onset of SMS technologies I conducted a number of "swarm" public disorder interventions with others and began mobile blogging or cyber-glogging to Moblog.co.uk and other early MMS service providers. These events formed the basis for an extensive range of mobile blogging or moblogging as educational resource activity across Australia and New Zealand.

Up until the 16th November 2003 I engaged in the assessment of body worn safety alert "beacon" systems for Justice service workers across a number of Western Australian prisons.  I ended up saving my own life as an Education Officer by triggering the very same device in a lockdown incident at Casuarina Prison whilst working in "chokie"...had I not had that alert go off I would have certainly been been beaten to a pulp.

In late 2003 - 2005 I was involved in a number of Australian Flexible Learning Projects (AFLF) that sought to extend the parameters of 'm-learning' to encompass educative arrangement, principally bringing educational content to mobile and networked enabled technology - internet enabled wearable technology.

These many projects explored the interface between body worn cameras and educational repositories which logged a range of metadata including time, date, location, wearer identity. 

"...The innovative practice that we intend to solve or to implement is to look at the nature of mobile technologies and any other supporting technologies that allow the student to engage with the lecturer, the assessor or the program itself and in a way that encompasses their needs to be mobile and also how it supplements or adds to the technology  their learning styles whether it be on campus or online.  The problems that we wish to solve and also investigate are the nature of what scope we have in terms of what is available in terms of the network coverage for students and whereabouts they access this information.  And also how to identify and identify the needs of those users in terms of  the technologies that they possess themselves, that is the different types of phones, the networks they are connected to and their participation in other learning strategies which may incorporate mobile technology."

Alexander Hayes, AFLF Researcher
February 2004

http://web.archive.org/web/20060109173519/http://www.flexiblelearning.net.au/projects/txtme.htm
 

In March 2004 I formed the Australian Mobile Learning Network (AMLN) and conducted national and international research activities with a number of vocational training providers, industry experts and peak bodies to investigate the use of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in the educational setting. In late 2004 I conducted a range of research activities with rural and remote Aboriginal Australian communities in conjunction with lead Telco's and national educational organisations - read more 

In 2005 - 2006 I formed with my fellow colleagues Geoff Lubich and Leo Gaggl an educational technology company called EDUPOV Pty Ltd which provided body worn cameras (POV), locational integration and data management repository as service. We had over 125 lead national and international clients from policing, military, fire and emergency services, universities, vocational training colleges, medical and many other industry sectors.

In 2006 - 2007 I participated or co-facilitated the Teach and Learning Online (TALO) Future of Learning in a Networked World unconference as well as the MobilizeThis technology symposiums with Charles Darwin University (Bill Wade, Michael Coghlan, Geoff Lubich) and a number of lead educational organisations such as the New Media Consortium (NMC).

In 2009 as EDUPOV Director I chaired and facilitated Australia's first cross-sector wearable technologies symposium examining the use of these technologies in an education and training context primarily focussed on the socio-technical research capacity. We imported, sold and serviced organisations with LiquidImage, Vio, Pivothead, ContourHD, GoPro, MV-100, P-923, SmartCam, E-witness to name just a few of the products we stocked and supported.

Lacking resolve in the value of my work, challenged by the proliferation of surveillance and learning of the work of Professor Steve Mann, University of Toronto in late 2009 I wrote a 40 page PhD application under the mentorship of Associate Professor Katina Michael and her husband Doctor M.G. Michael. My submission was accepted in early 2010 and have conducted a literature review through 2010 I soon chose to focus my research on:

the socio-ethical implications of location enabled body worn technologies in educational context.

I joined the Research Network of Secure Australia (RNSA) in 2011 and formed the Coreveillance initiative with private covert surveillance operatives, learning a lot about activities I never knew existed. As a result I am still involved ongoing in a number of initiatives whose mandate is to provide security, data sovereignty and autonomy for its members. My activities include presentations with government and none-government agencies on topics such as policing, unmanned aerial systems (drones) and industry applications of wearables.

In a research capacity the technology I am principally focussed on better understanding is location enabled wearable camera systems including the likes of Google Glass, Epson Moverio, MeCam, Narrative, Autographer et al.

INTRODUCTION

My PhD research contributes to a better understanding of the socio-ethical implications of using emergent technologies in an educational context and across a range of workplace settings. I have always had an interest in how digital technologies impact upon humans, how they adopt and adapt these technologies for their own use and the impact of this activity more broadly on society.

Specifically, this research project examines the impact that location enabled point-of-view (PoV) or body-wearable-video (BWV) technologies includingGoogle Glass are having upon curriculum development, assessment practices and prior learning accreditation practices.

I am focused on the experiences of others, adopting a skeptical 'null hypothesis' whereby I seek to disprove a common perception that these technologies will have a negative impact on the privacy, personal security and well being of those who choose to actively use these technologies. 

As a scientist and researcher I choose to NOT wear, bear or implant these technologies, rather maintaining a neutral evidence gathering research inquiry across a wide range of sectors, stakeholders groups and organisations using an approved, mixed-method data gathering approach. 

My research interests also include better understanding the challenges faced by individuals, organisations and government alike as they address data sovereignty, national security, policing, law and policy development commensurate with this domain.


RESEARCH CAPACITY

Since commencing the PhD in mid 2010 I've completed a comprehensive literature review, written and delivered numerous papers and presentations, published in numerous leading journals, written chapters for books, convened national and international events with experts in the wearable computing, HCI, engineering and informations sciences domains.

Upon approval by the University of Wollongong Higher Research Ethics Committee (HREC) I travelled to the Aalto University Finland as a Visiting Researcher and began approved interviews with key stakeholders. I completed that interview data collection in October 2013 with a sum total of 60 interviews on average at one hour per interview.

My research will also produce intensive case studies and data intensive scenario development.

This research project also contributes to a broader understanding as to the impact of these technologies across personal, community and professional networks as part of the greater national and international regulatory  frameworks governing acceptable use of these technological innovations.

Topics of interest emerging from preliminary investigations include the role of subject rights, data provenance, data ownership and privacy (to name a few) which emanate from the use of these technologies across other sectors. 


RESEARCH FOCUS

The rapid uptake of body worn, location enabled, mobile network accessible solutions for rich media creation and connection in extreme sports, military and medical sectors is now also challenging the mobile learning and distance education stereotype. The re-purposed application of these technologies in the education and training sector is now opening up new domains for connecting learners with educators, which in turn poses substantial challenges for organizations as they grapple with the implications that this pervasive technology imbues.

This research study will engage key stakeholders in interviews and case studies that evidence learning settings where it is critical or desirable to remain hands free, to have the ability to record evidence using rich media, to be remotely accessed / connected to trainers and assessors in the field as a desirable service delivery attribute and submit datasets as a further validation of participation in a learning experience. Likewise, the basis of the research is to build a body of evidence of perceived and actual uses of these data sets to inform critical debate that will influence policy affecting the educational purpose of these wearable and connected technologies.


POSITION

My PhD research rigorously explores and tests the null hypothesis of the affirmative position:

Throughout history, technological innovation has advanced humanity.

Using Deduction theorem, I posit that:

Statement P (true)

Through history, technological innovation has advanced humanity.

Statement Q (a subset of P)

Location enabled wearable digital glass technologies are a result of technological innovation.

Deduction P --> Q (since P is true and Q is a subset of Q, Q is also true - by deduction )

Wearable digital glass technologies will advance humanity.

The null hypothesis therefore is: wearable digital glass technologies will advance humanity.

I acknowledge that empirical research findings and other forms of evidence may form the need to develop and maintain an alternative hypothesis.

I also acknowledge the invaluable and critical reflections of Dr. Ruth Mirams and Mikalea Jade of Paramodic Pty Ltd. in their instrumental challenges to my position which has now formed my current thinking as articulated above.


STATUS

Doctor of Philosophy - Phd. candidate
Completion - mid 2015.



AFFILIATION

Faculty of Engineering & Information Sciences
School of Informations Systems & Technology (SISAT)
Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research (IIBSOR)
University of Wollongong, NSW Australia



SUPERVISION


Primary Supervisor - Associate Professor Katina Michael
University of Wollongong, NSW Australia

Co-Supervisor - Associate Professor Teemu Leinonen
Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
 

DOMAINS

  • Art & Literature
  • Education
  • Computer & Information Systems
  • Engineering
  • Philosophy

 

INVITATION

I welcome contact with like minded individuals who are active in cross-sector networks, related interdisciplinary domains and transdisciplinarity research practice that informs the research topic. Given the fast paced and rapidly developing nature of this research project I interact mainly across research list groups, social media platforms and events based communication portals.

You can see examples of my engagement with others such as the #glassinterviews with the Google Glass Explorer Community. These are being conducted using Google Hangout on Air which is a live recorded broadcast and Youtube archive.



RESEARCH PARTICIPANT INFORMATION

The following documentation serves to inform Participants who formally engage with this research project.

Letter of Invitation
Participant Consent
Information Sheet
Interview Questions
Research Methods
 


RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Research participants will be engaged in:

  • Semi-structured interviews conducted with key stakeholders provide a valuable insight into the benefits, risks and solutions that have emerged from the use of these technologies in their workplace or other learning settings or;
  • Comprehensive case studies with select projects / individuals reveal the extent to which these technologies have been deployed and in what ways they have been implemented widely referencing cross sector use cases or;
  • Scenarios development extrapolated from reliable data sources that pose/picture what we might expect to see appear in this research space in the not too distant future.

 

RESEARCH BACKGROUND

Examples of these technologies include:


EyeTap
Google Glass 
TaserFlex
PivotHead
Contour
Memoto
Autographer
MeCam

 

LITERATURE

Some references to get acquainted with this area include:

 

RESEARCH INTERESTS

  • INFORMATION THEORY

  • sociology (socio-ethics / socio-technics)
  • privacy
  • flexible learning
  • mobile learning (mLearning)
  • networked learning (education)
  • connection dependent educative arrangement
  • emergent technologies research
  • data management
  • national security
  • policing
  • cyberbullying
  • ICT project management
  • Keywords, topics, themes that are of interest to me are here