Don’t use the  Watch in your classroom

I’m not kidding damn it. Don’t even think about it. If you are, then you need to splash some cold water on your face, shake your head vigorously from side to side or visit your school nurse and breathe in some smelling salts. In other words wake up!

Despite the title, I’m not just talking about the  Watch either. I figured with the big Apple event the other night the title was timely. No, I’m talking about Android Wear or any other smart watch out there as well.

The good news is, I don’t think many of you out there are even foolish enough to consider about incorporating such a device into your classroom – good for you. Now on for the arguments.

Fitness? Give me a break

The most obvious use of smart watches in school is for PE class. Whatever-I’m not against wearables in class. I think using a heart rate monitor in PE class is a valuable, but you can get them far cheaper than the $350 USD the  Watch goes for or the cheaper $200 USD Android wear watches are going for these days.

Also, read the reviews on these watches – they all have accuracy issues. Whether it be heart rate, distance, altimeter, they all seem off by a bit. Why invest all that money in something that is going to return less than precise data?

Even if schools do go for a fitness device, there are plenty out there that are $100 or less.

Charging will be a nightmare

These devices usually have their own proprietary charing cables. Which means if one goes kapoot or ends up missing, you have to order one. You can’t just jog down to your local Wal-Mart and pick one up. This will be leaving you out in the cold for a few days.

Also, the batteries on these devices are not very good. You’ll be charging them … allthetime. This is a pain and one must have constant vigilance with this too. If not you will find yourself needing them and they won’t be ready. Take it from someone who has managed laptop carts.

I can use it as a stopwatch


I won’t even engage in that argument it is so ludicrous. NEXT!

I can control my presentations

OK – how lazy are you? Really? Maybe you’re not lazy, but this is lazy. Just use a wireless mouse, your smartphone or time your presentation. There are plenty of other, more sensible solutions to clicking the spacebar on your computer.

They are sooooo pretty

I will say this – as a device they are fairly attractive and small and I can see kids “accidentally” walking off with them. Ooops! It’ll happen – trust me. It will not matter if your students are rich or poor – someone will get bold and try to steal one. Being small, all it will take is someone with a good plan, a good distraction and some quick hands to walk away with one.

It’s a personal device

With computers and smartphones there are ways you can engage groups of people or quickly share information. Smart watches are not that device – at least not yet. You are extremely limited what you can do and how you can communicate with a group of people. The main audience of a smart watch is the wearer in most cases. Not for a group of people.

My students want to use it as a BYOD


No, no, nononononononon. Two questions for you. Can they type on it, can they render a full webpage on it? Argument over.

Wrapping it up

These devices are pretty impressive and it seems to me that industries are trying their hardest to find the “iPhone for wearables”, but it is very far from being a meaningful device in a classroom. I know there are plenty of you tech lovers out there who are shaking your head as you read this, but all I have to do is ask myself this. How does this help my students learn and is that learning meaningful? If I struggle to find an answer or have to convince myself of that the answer is a good one, then I probably should be looking elsewhere.

About Patrick Cauley

I teach middle school technology and love to play around with tech and teach students and colleagues alike. You can read my blog at www.itbabble.com
This entry was posted in Opinion, Patrick Cauley and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Don’t use the  Watch in your classroom

  1. I agree with your article completely.

    Wait for it…wait for it…. “The iWatch will change education!!!” I’m going to throw up. I can’t wait for the breathless articles that say that, finally, this is the device that will change education and learning (just like TV’s, iPads, laptops, desktops, etc did).

    This insane, chaotic, frantic grasping for the “next thing” that will reform education drives me nuts. Good teaching is good teaching is good teaching. The tools are wholly secondary.

    • Bill – well said. Technology is a valuable tool for educators who know how to use them. It’s not going to save a school, improve SAT scores or inspire higher level thinking. Without good teaching, technology is just icing on a styrofoam cake. It may look nice, but it’s ultimately useless. Except the Apple Watch of course. That’s going to fix everything! 🙂

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