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Emergency Educational Technology Rations

4 min read

With thanks to David Hopkins for the spark to write this! Ed tech rations

I have resisted the temptation to explore what emergency rations means to the

geeky amateur cyclist. Instead, I seem destined to interpret the expression

through the lens of a geeky iOS ‘MAMIL’ (Middle Aged Man In Lycra) with clinically

diagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

While I am confessing my deficiencies: after decades with 20:20 vision it pains

me to need to use glasses. Fortunately, Apple did see me coming and have

evolved from the 3.5” 3GS to the 5.5” iPhone 6S Plus at about the same rate as

my eyesight has deteriorated. While smartphones may have expanded

dramatically during this time-frame, clothes designers do not appear to have

noticed. I can no longer fit my iPhone into the breast pocket of my shirt. Actually,

on reflection, maybe clothes designers know what they are doing. If I put it in my

trouser pocket it ruins my natural lines and I have to worry that it will bend. The

6S Plus is therefore often relegated to my bag, the most physically remote phone

I’ve had since I succumbed to the siren ringtone of my first (T-Mobile) Nokia.

You will recall that I have OCD. Mine manifests itself as a fear of leaving things

unlocked, switched on or misplaced. You cannot misplace a phone in a pocket but

out of touch is out of (my) mind.

So my emergency ration is the solution to the disadvantages of a phablet. The

Apple Watch. I am sympathetic to those early reviewers of the Apple Watch who

criticised its dependence on the tethered iPhone. They bemoaned the lack of a

killer application. For me, the little red icon at the top of the screen is the killer

application. No longer do I have to scramble through my pockets, my bag or my

desktop clutter for my mobile phone. If the icon is there, then my phone is nearby.

My phone is safe.

It might be tethered through Bluetooth but the Apple Watch has liberated me from

my iPhone. I no longer have to go to the terrible inconvenience of opening the

case and resting my index finger on the home button if I want to check my alerts.

A quick flick of the wrist and the BBC have brought me the latest ghastly tragedy

to befall my football team. Although quite why Twitter think saying “Hi” to a new

follower is a good idea escapes me.

How close am I to my Apple Watch? If it comes off during waking hours, it’s either

to even the tan or avoid flicks of paint. Sensible and reasonable, I am sure you

will agree. So how about the ghostly haptics? Someone else tell me this is a ‘thing’.

If I take my watch off I will still experience the familiar tapping sensation that tells

me something has happened. When I look down, that piece of me is missing like

a first world imitation of a phantom limb.

What do university professors and road cyclists have in common? They are

obsessed with metrics. The Apple Watch feeds our need for numbers: how fast

our hearts are beating; how many calories we’ve burnt and how many miles

traversed. Is it ironic that at exactly this point in the writing the haptics alert me

that it is an hour since I stood up?

Would I starve without my Apple Watch? No. Would my productivity be dramatically

reduced without it? No. Will I buy the next edition? If they add a gesture-activated

wrist camera, definitely.