By Allie Witek, Staff Writer
Smartwatches are a hot topic of discussion at school these days. Most teachers hope to ban them, but many students who own these watches argue that they are an integral piece of technology in their lives. Although some teachers believe that smartwatches are a distraction in classes, is that really a strong enough reason to ban them?
Smartwatches should be allowed in school because, when used responsibly, they provide students with resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, foster a healthier and safer lifestyle, and allow students to fortify their 21st-century skills by using all kinds of technology inside and outside of the classroom.
With access to a smartwatch, students have the ability to utilize various applications that can assist them in their studies. They can do basic things like look at the time, use a calculator, and use a timer, which is a useful tool in class. Although some of these are basic functions, the Apple Watch has another feature that is intriguing to users: students can track their footsteps and physical activity throughout the day. This beneficial tool allows students to see how much physical activity they have completed and how much more they should do to be active. Some students even have contests to beat each other in “step competitions,” promoting healthy competition.
Furthermore, smartwatches enable students to be safer in and around school. Although children are certainly in a safe school environment, the watch helps geographically track students to reassure parents they are where they are supposed to be. In addition, after school, if a student’s phone dies and they are stranded waiting for a parent to pick her up, the smartwatch can serve as an essential way to contact one’s family. In this way, the watch ensures a level of safety that students can carry with them at all times.
Finally, smartwatches are the next development in 21st century technology. Just as proficiency in other technological devices has now become a necessity, proficiency in smartwatch usage may become essential. Students who wear these watches are being educated in this experience throughout the day
For those who still may have qualms over students misusing smartwatches by texting during class, it is actually not possible to “text” on the watch unless you speak into it. Speaking out of turn in class would be an obvious distraction in a classroom setting, but so far students have not been reported to be behaving in this manner in class. Furthermore, if students turn their smartwatches on “do not disturb” during the day just as they do with their phones in their backpacks, there is no risk of a distraction.
Smartwatches have gained an inaccurate reputation of being a distracting and impractical device. In reality, these useful pieces of technology are essential to 21st century learning and should therefore be allowed and valued as such in our community.