Time’s Up for Apple Watches


Photo courtesy of www.9to5mac.com

Apple Watches are one of the most popular smartwatches on the market, but they are no longer allowed in the Middle School.

With wearable technology becoming more advanced and more popular, it is getting harder for schools to make sure students are responsibly using these gadgets, such as watches and Fitbits. Technology, which is used throughout the School and will be the central theme of the new Maglio Family STEM Center, is supposed to benefit a students’ academic experience throughout the day. Unfortunately, wearable technology, especially Apple Watches, is supposedly taking away from this academic experience.

That’s why the watches were banned this year in the Middle School.

“The Apple Watches were a distraction,” said Middle School Dean of Students Mr. Jeffrey Cavallo. “Some students were receiving or answering calls and text messages,” he said. “It was detracting from the academic day.”

The original purpose of Apple Watches was to monitor consumers’ health. Apple was looking at ways to deliver on [Steve] Jobs’ goal of making their customers healthier by using technology to help monitor and track health-related data points,”  according to the article Why Did Apple Make the Apple Watch? on www.cio.com, a digital technology site. “It became clear to them that they would need some type of mobile device platform to do this. They concluded that a standard fitness tracker couldn’t do the types of things Jobs and current Apple executives really wanted to see. That’s how the Apple Watch came about.”

Mr. Crisafi
Lockers, like these ones in the eighth-grade hallway, are where Apple Watches need to be stored during the school day.

Phones in the Middle School are supposed to remain in lockers throughout the school day, but since Apple Watches can also send texts and make calls, teachers felt they should be considered to be the same as phones. “The teachers felt that there was not much of a difference between a phone and an Apple Watch,” said Cavallo. “If we keep the phones in the lockers, then we also keep Apple Watches in the lockers.”

For Head of Middle School Mr. Charles Hagy, the banning of Apple Watches was all about consistency.  “Apple Watches are very much like cell phones, so we’re being consistent with our cell phone policy,” said Head of Middle School Mr. Charles  Hagy. “The Upper School and Lower School do not allow [Apple Watches] in classrooms, so [the Middle School] was an outlier. Most importantly, kids were having problems managing the technology in the context of the responsibility they have during the school day.

However, Hagy believes that if the technology can be used educationally, then there’s a place for it on campus.

“I like to make these things situational. If a teacher came up to me and said kids could use Apple Watches for [a particular] purpose in P.E. or English class, then students would be able to use them for that class.”

The banning of Apple Watches definitely impacted the student body since many people enjoy that type of technology.

“I paid a lot of money [for my Apple Watch], said eighth-grader Antonio Gambino. “Only the people that did something wrong should not be able to wear their Apple Watch.”

Seventh-grader Robbie Brodner agrees, “It’s disappointing that I can’t use my Apple Watch,” he said. “If some people used it [irresponsibly], then they should get in trouble and everyone else should be able to use it.”

Although much of the student body disapproves of Apple Watches being banned, Eighth-grader Andrew Moffitt feels that they distracted students from the main purpose of school. “Students should not be on their Apple Watches during class, and they should be paying attention,” he said. It was a good choice to ban Apple Watches.”

Unless they are being used for instructional purposes with the consent of the teacher, Apple Watches are no longer allowed to be used. So while time may be up for this sort of wearable technology, at least students won’t be distracted by them at school or during class.