UK Universities ban watches in exam halls ahead of Apple Watch release

The much-awaited Apple Watch is almost upon us, with Apple CEO Tim Cook saying the wearable will start to ship in April - but it isn't all good news, as far as Apple customers in the UK are concerned. Buzzfeed reports that several universities are now banning the use of watches in exam halls.

The report claims that even though several smart watches have been released already, such extreme measures are being taken now due to the hype surrounding the upcoming Apple Watch, which is bound to take the popularity of wearables to a whole new level.

The initiative might seem harsh at first, but it does seem quite reasonable when one looks from a university's point of view. Smart watches can be used to send and receive text messages, access the internet, make notes and perform calculations which otherwise might not be permitted in examination halls. Indeed, it will be almost impossible for test proctors to confirm whether a student is just checking the time or using his wearable to provide an unfair advantage over other students.

London’s City University says:

Last year, colleagues and invigilators raised the issue of how we would identify a smart watch in an examination setting. In large exam venues, with over 100 students, it simply wouldn’t be practical to ask invigilators to check each watch. We conducted some sector research in the autumn term of 2014 and learned that a number of universities have recently introduced a similar policy.

Furthermore, since it will be relatively difficult for technology-unaware invigilators to identify whether a watch is a traditional one or a smart one, the use of watches in exam halls is being completely banned in several universities, who say:

Students are already asked to place mobile phones in a plastic wallet under their desk, so we adopted the same procedure for watches. Students either don’t wear them to an exam venue, or they remove the watch in the venue and place it in the plastic wallet.

We also increased the number of large wall clocks available in the examination venues, bought small desk clocks for any student who requests one as well as a small quantity of RNIB-approved desk clocks for use by any student who needs one.

The $150 Withings smart watch looks just like a traditional watch

The universities involved claim that a smart watch has almost become an equivalent for a smart phone considering that it performs almost all the basic activities a smart phone can. Since cell phones are allowed in university premises under normal conditions but are normally disallowed inside examination halls, smart wearables must undergo the same treatment.

Up until now, the University of London and London's City University are some of the universities which have employed the new policy, but others will surely follow should the method prove effective and popular among teachers and students.. London's City University claims students have already adopted this new policy "so readily."

Source: Buzzfeed via Slashgear |Images via Apple, PC World

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