One of the new innovations on the block is the Apple iWatch and there has been speculation recently about how this could be used more effectively in the classroom. In essence the iWatch is simply a wearable version of the iPhone and does much the same thing including having the capacity to download educational apps, albeit with a much smaller screen.
Indestructible and difficult to Lose?
Apple say that the iWatch is one of their most robust products, reputedly indestructible and, because it is strapped to the wrist, is difficult to lose. This may be true but the price range of the watches at the moment may well put it out of reach for most families on a tight budget. In the future though, perhaps all students will wear one to enhance their education in varying ways. At the moment, it is all about the possibilities rather than the certainties but there are some intriguing opportunities just round the corner for those with wearable technology.
Use it in PE
One area where the iWatch has been touted in the school is for use in PE classes to monitor heart rate and activity to make sure that our children are getting enough exercise. Many of us nowadays use some sort of feedback mechanism through either our smartphones or tablets to make sure that we are getting the right amount of physical activity.
Notification for classes
Downloading something like a school app can ensure that pupils are never late for class again with push notifications for lessons and geolocation alerts for where a student needs to be at any particular time.
Another possible use of the Apple iWatch in education is in timing tests and making sure that tasks are completed in a set time. Pupils may also be able to log when they have completed homework or see how they are progressing in a particular assignment.
A chance to enhance self-regulated learning
With it being such early days, the possibilities of incorporating wearable technology into the classroom still seem a little slim. A research project is underway in America at the moment that is looking at the way products such as the iWatch can be used to enhance and regulate self-learning – reminding pupils to study at a certain time, tracking their progress and giving them access to tailor made mini courses and quizzes that they can reach at the touch of a button. The idea is that a product such as the iWatch can prompt students to take more interest in their own study and promote an ethos of self-learning that will become a life-long habit.
Whether the Apple iWatch has any major impact on the future of education in our schools remains to be seen, of course, but it is another example of how technology is helping us to evolve better and more effective ways to teach and learn.