If you’re a teacher and looking for an excuse to buy an Apple Watch, look no further! I’m about to drop all of the ways my Apple Watch has improved my teaching practice.
I originally purchased an Apple Watch for running and it’s definitely been useful for that. I have the Nike Plus edition with GPS. I still run with my phone but I can keep it tucked away in my running belt and can easily check my pace, distance, and control my music from my watch. But that’s not what we’re here for. Let’s look at some ways to use the Apple Watch in the classroom.
Here’s my routine for starting class:
- I greet scholars at the door
- Scholars have 7 minutes to complete their warmup (more on this later)
- While scholars complete their warmups I take attendance and hand back any graded work
- After the 7 minute warmup time is over I draw 3 popsicle sticks and ask these scholars to share their answers
I have alarms set to go off 2 minutes before each period starts. We don’t have bells at our school so this helps me keep track of time and makes sure I can get to the door with enough time to greet my scholars as they enter. I also snooze this alarm so it goes off again 7 minutes into class when warmup time is over. This helps me keep a consistent routine and prevents too much time being spent on warmups and becoming off task time (which was an issue I used to run in to).
Pacing, Pacing, Pacing
I use the heck out of the timers on my watch! The presets are great: 1 minute for a think-pair-share, 3-5 minutes to work a more challenging problem or for quick rotation activities, 10-15 minutes to work a groups of problems or longer rotations, 30 minutes to finish a lab or project. Timers help both me and my scholars stay on task. What’s that quote, “Idle hands are the devil’s tools?” Something like that. Anyways, the quickest way to an off task group of scholars is to give too much time for a task. You can always add more once time is up, but I like to give a short amount of time for my scholars to tackle something and the Apple Watch timers help me with this. I can quickly glance at my watch and give a “time remaining” reminder too. Even if most or the entire period is work time, I will always set a timer to end 5 minutes before class so I have enough time for cleanup and closure.
Digital Hand Raise
Probably the coolest thing I have set up my Apple Watch to do is a digital hand raise. My classes consist of a lot of work time and coaching rather than lecture and notes so it’s important for me to be able to get to my scholars who need help. Enter the digital hand raise. Here’s how this works:
- A scholar needs help so they type their name into a simple Google Form that lives on my LMS home page called “Help Me!”
- The Google Form has an add on called TheFormBot which is set up to forward any form responses to the Telegram App which I have installed on my watch.
- I get a tap on my wrist and see who I need to go to next within 30-60 seconds of the scholar submitting their name.
I like this method of hand raising because it keeps things equitable. Scholars who are uncomfortable raising their hands might be more likely to type their names in an anonymous form. I can help scholars in the order they need help rather than attending to the noisiest requestors first. Just make sure to go over etiquette (not submitting other people’s names as a joke) before implementing.
And there you have it! 3 more reasons to buy an Apple Watch as an educator!