A good IT person is always watching the industry and understanding the latest trends, so that they can predict what their users will want to use – before people arrive at their doors. So if we’ve all know that “smart watches” are the future for ages, why has there not been more talk about how they will have an impact in the classroom? Everyone has known that Apple are going to release a watch for over 6 months – but apart from some early speculation I’ve not heard any schools really getting their heads around this.
Watching the Apple keynote this week was interesting, for a few reasons – despite Tim Cook’s presentation style being – well – a little flat. When Apple first appointed the Burberry CEO in 2013, we should have known that their transition from Tech Company to top High-Street fashion brand was accelerating. Apple products have always been desirable and had huge brand pull, but their approach to the smart watch market has shown what a completely different league they are in when compared to anyone else launching wearable tech this year. Why? Because the debate won’t be about whether you want one or not – it will be about which strap style and face options you choose. The care and thought they have put into materials and styling is unparalleled by all the other companies who released a smart watch before them.
This Ive-narrated and immaculately produced yawn fest about “Aluminum” (its Aluminium) shows you what I mean.
The other smart thing about the Keynote was the nonchalant way that Tim Cook told us that the new iOS update was available today, which would get all our phones ready for Apple Watch. Sure enough, 24 hours later and my iPhone was graced with a permanent and seductive advert (the Apple Watch app) winking at me every time I go to make a call! If any other company pushed an Ad to you that way, you’d be kicking off about invasion of privacy – but you’re not. You’re doing the same as me – wondering how long you can hold off before you buy one.
So what about schools? I reckon that you have about 6 months. Tops. My 12 year old does not seem slightly interested in Apple Watch right now, but as soon as one of his mates gets one – or the pretty girl in year 8 says how cool they are – he’ll be adding it to his wish list. So by September 2015, when the new academic year starts, you could be faced with hundreds of Apple Watches in every Secondary School – especially those in affluent areas. So the time is NOW for the IT people in our schools to do their research, flag this to the Head, start writing a policy about the use of smart watches, and generally try to get ahead of the game.
As for teachers, surely Smart Watch + Smart Kids = Smarter Classrooms? People have now started writing some lists of possible uses and the opportunities to embed these devices into the learning process is undoubtedly huge. This is not just about planning for control, but also thinking about the benefits to pupils and their learning, from having an internet connected device on their wrist at all times. However, if you are a teacher who has struggled with the behaviour and classroom management issues which mobile phone bring – then you aint seen nothing yet. Try banning watches in your school and see how far you get.
If you thought that smart watches were the future, then think again. The Apple marketing machine and “I want one” thoughts in your users heads began in earnest on March 9th. They are a 2015 problem, or a 2015 opportunity – depending on how you react.
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