Teens and Tech: A Growing Market for Wearables

“I’d rather give up, like, a kidney than my phone.” – Philippa Grogan

Teenagers are looking to be more connected to the world around them than ever before. In just two years the number of teens who own smartphones rose 14 percent.Twenty five percent of teenagers own a tablet, about the same as adults. However, compared to the adult market a larger percentage of teens (one in four) connect to the internet primarily through mobile devices. Teenagers today have access to technologies at a young age and the way they interact with the world is vastly differentthan the generations that came before them. It is a generation growing up with theInternet of Things and they have all of its capabilities at their fingertips.

Technology companies in the wearable market are beginning to look at these consumers with new eyes. Calorie counters and high-fashion watches may mean little to teens, but a bracelet that acts as a game console, friend proximity tracker, messenger and is completely customizable, just might. A teen focus group was completely enthralled with the idea. When they were ready to buy on the spot, Mighty Cast took the hypothetical item and turned it into the NEX Band.

Mighty Cast isn’t the only wearable company beginning to tap into the emerging teen market. Pebble has released limited-edition versions of its smartwatch in three new colors: fresh (lime), hot (pink) and fly (blue) in an effort to tap into teen trends. And their high retail price ($150) is not a problem because teens spend on average between eight and 15 percent of their disposable income on technology.

Opportunity is rife with challenges. Spurred by the business of fast fashion, this generation of teens is accustomed to short turn-around times between product announcement and release. Keeping up with the ever-changing consumer trends of teenagers can put a strain on the small start-up companies that produce many of today’s wearable technologies.

Enter global manufacturing and supply chain companies who speed time-to-market for wearable companies.

Quickly developing a working prototype and making the shift from design and development to manufacturing can be riddled with pitfalls. By nurturing strategic manufacturing partnerships early in the process, companies can ease each transition from concept to release and leverage the experience, supply chain and manufacturing expertise of a larger, global, partner.

Are teens a new market for wearable tech companies? Or are teenage trends too fickle to be taken seriously?

The Rise of the Internet of Things (#IoT)

Published originally by @Jabil, August 2014


All Of It

Originally posted on edtechdigest.com:

Achieving a whole school connected environment.

GUEST COLUMN | by Travis Warren

CREDIT BlackbaudSchools live to serve the needs of those that walk through their doors. Whether students, parents, volunteers or faculty, education is a customer service business. At private schools, this is perhaps even truer than at their public school counterparts. Private schools live and die by the experience they provide to their customers; their paying families. And with the rise of school choice programs and charter schools (better public school options) the competitive pressure to provide a top-notch experience has never been greater. To stay competitive, private schools rely on unique user experiences to uphold their positive reputation, maintain their existing families, and differentiate their school when engaging with prospective students.

It should be no surprise that technology is at the center of this experience. Away from school, students, parents, teachers, and administrators are on sites like Amazon.com, Zappos…

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America’s Awful College Dropout Rates, in Four Charts

By JORDAN WEISSMANN (Slate‘s senior business and economics correspondent)
Getting to graduation isn’t easy Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

America’s nagging problem with college dropouts managed to get the tiniest bit worse this year. The National Student Clearinghouse reports that 55 percent of first-time undergraduates who matriculated in the fall of 2008 finished a degree within six years, versus 56.1 percent of those who began in fall 2007. Keep in mind, we already had the lowest college completion rate in the developed world, at least among the 18 countries tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Much like American health care, American higher education continues to set a global standard for inefficiency.

Our dropout crisis doesn’t get discussed a great deal outside of education circles. But it should, since the issue is directly tied to other problems the public rightly obsesses over like rising tuition and student debt. Lots of Americans take at least a few college classes, which stretches state resources thin and drives up costs for everyone. But because relatively few finish their degrees, we get poor bang for our buck compared to other countries. And since dropouts are much more likely to default on their student loans, both borrowers and taxpayers end up suffering.

So it’s worth taking a close look at where and how the dropout problem is concentrated in the education system. Here’s the simple way to think about it: Traditional students—kids enrolled full time at four-year colleges by their 20thbirthday—are very likely to finish school. Nontraditional students—pretty much everybody else—aren’t.

According to the NSC, only 39.6 percent of undergrads attended full time during their whole stint in school. They fared well: More than three-quarters of them finished up their degree within six years. On the other hand, the 53 percent of students who attended both full and part time struggled. One-third had dropped out entirely. Meanwhile, almost a quarter were still taking classes. Given that few students who spend more than six years in school finish, chances are most of them will drop out as well.

Now let’s take a look at age. Of those who started school at age 20 or younger—as 76 percent of 2008 enrollees did—about 59 percent complete a degree. For older students, graduation rates were closer to 40 percent.

As you might expect, students at public and nonprofit four-year institutions—about 59 percent of the cohort—had far higher graduation rates than undergrads at two-year schools. A lot of this is self-selection: If you’re prepared to go seek a bachelor’s degree, chances are you’re better prepared to stick with higher ed. An enormous fraction of students at two-year schools aren’t prepared for college-level work and end up stuck in remedial classes, which lengthen the time to degree and make it less likely they’ll ever finish.

But even at four-year institutions, the distinction between full-time and part-time students still matters. Taking a few classes while working simply isn’t a very realistic path to a degree for most people.

Again, we have a higher education system that works fairly well for the traditional college student—the teenager who shows up on campus ready to dedicate the next four to six years of their lives to school. But a very, very large chunk of American undergraduates don’t fit that profile. They’re older, juggling classes and a job or family, and not necessarily up to speed academically. Our education system isn’t built to cater to their needs, and its results are extremely wasteful.

What’s Your Major Worth?

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From Discover Student Loans

Engaging Millennials

Originally posted on edtechdigest.com:

Five ways to interest the next generation in training and development courses.

GUEST COLUMN | by Mike Broderick

CREDIT Turning TechnologiesAs school teachers have long known and employers have discovered more recently, effectively engaging Millennials in a learning environment involves greater levels of interactivity than the learning techniques used with prior generations. But as they enter the workforce in even greater numbers, it’s important to tailor training and development programs to engage Millennials, which are the largest generation in US history at almost 80 million strong.

Like the Baby Boomers and Gen Xers who preceded them, Millennials have distinct generational characteristics. Savvy learning and development professionals can identify these traits and design lesson plans around them to strengthen workplace training programs. Since Millennials grew up online and are likely to be in constant communication with peers via social media, one of their chief characteristics is the value they place on interactivity.


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The Growing Chasm in the Online Higher Education Market (1 of 2)

Originally posted on Management & Strategy Issues in DIGITAL HIGHER ED:

A chasm is beginning to appear between institutions of higher education that offer online programs. The divide is the result of the different strategies taken for designing, sourcing and managing online education programs.

A small number of institutions in the U.S. have adopted methods for producing and supporting online courses that have the potential, if not the liklihood, to improve learning outcomes, increase the speed with the institution improves the quality of teaching and learning, increase value (quality/cost) and, possibly, reconfigure the deeply embedded hierarchy that frames higher education.

A couple of scenarios

An acquaintance, an Assistant Professor at a mid-size university, was asked in mid-July by her institution to create and deliver a new online course for the Fall (September) semester. In the time available, she had to define the new curriculum, determine the instructional tactics to be used, collect existing resources, and create new materials, including assessments.

Throughout the process…

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