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Wearable technology has entered the mainstream. The Apple Watch,announced on Tuesday, ushers in the possibility that, one day soon, campuses across the country will contend with students who are literally attached to their gadgets.
“These wearable technologies will become like appendages,” said B.J. Fogg, a consulting professor at Stanford University and director of the Stanford Persuasive Tech Lab. “To remove those capabilities will be like tying one hand behind your back.”
While the prospect of the new device may thrill technophiles, it may also make professors and administrators uneasy. After all, a classroom of students with miniature computers strapped to their wrists could seem like an instructor’s nightmare.
But Teresa Fishman, director of the International Institute for Academic Integrity at Clemson University, believes wearable technology is no cause for alarm. Rather, she said, it should prompt universities to encourage innovative teaching that reflects modern realities.
“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,” Ms. Fishman said.
Before the Internet, she said, colleges had monopolies on knowledge and offered students exclusive access to information. With the availability of online resources, she added, higher education has to change.