With Apple joining the wearable technology fray, educators have to understand that the devices will inevitably become a part of the classroom. There will be challenges, but also opportunities, according to Teresa Fishman, director of the International Institute for Academic Integrity at Clemson University.
“I hope that what is going to happen in response to something like this is not more emphasis on surveillance, but instead something related to changing what’s going on in the classroom,” she told The Chronicle of Higher Education.
To counter some of the challenges, Fishman suggested educators provide assignments that take advantage of the fact that students are going to use the Internet and work with their friends. She also said she believes it will take a greater emphasis on ethics and probably some old-fashioned methods to combat the potential of using a smartwatch to cheat.
“Rather than getting higher tech, the solution is often the lowest-tech one of all: an oral exam with a student in which you can talk through a problem,” she said. “It’s time-consuming, and time-consuming means expensive, but there’s almost nothing that beats a conversation.”
Using wearable technology to cheat may be a minor issue compared to the distractions it causes. At the same time, there is the potential for new applications to be created that will make learning even better.
“It’s first going to be a distraction and detriment, and it’s going to be a learning curve for how to make this a clear benefit for learning and social skills,” said B.J. Fogg, consulting professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab, who wrote about an app called Study Buddy that could prompt students to study in his 2002 book Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do.