By Sister Nancy Linenkugel
A new year is now underway, complete with fresh resolutions about what we will do to change, improve, or re-do things in our lives. We Franciscans can identify, as we turn to St. Francis of Assisi’s philosophy, “The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today.” And by now, almost one week into the New Year, some of those resolutions may or may not have the strength of fervor originally felt on December 31.
A friend shared that she and her husband have stuck to their resolutions from last year about better health. They’ve been using the fit-bit type wristwatches for months now, appreciating all the health monitoring metrics stored in the devices. But her old device conked out so she got another one since the original was beyond repair, and this new one was a Christmas gift that she really loved receiving. She took the new fit-bit watch out of the package, tried to set up all the metrics, but no matter what she did, the screen kept indicating “1:35” in large numerals. Frustrated, she finally called customer service and the rep couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful. No matter what the rep suggested she do, the screen still indicated “1:35”. Finally the rep asked, “By any chance, did you remove the clear plastic protective film from your screen?” My friend looked closely, realized that the “1:35” was printed on the protective film, and sheepishly admitted that she was only now removing the film. Her device had actually been working just fine all along.
Then a university colleague shared the following warning with department faculty:
“I want to give you a heads up about a potential way of cheating on exams I think I witnessed recently. If a student has a smart watch, they can use this as a way to get to information related to an exam. Many smart watch devices connect to the phone if it is nearby, which allows students access to information from or through their phone. Not having one of these devices myself, I hadn’t thought about this. I would recommend that you have students place smart watches in their backpacks or purses during exams, just as we do with phones and computers.”
It’s sad, no, that wristwatches can spawn cheating?
Immediately I pictured a cartoon in my mind: Two cavemen are standing around a sundial on a cloudy day. Without any sunshine, the cavemen have no idea what time it is from looking at the sundial. So one says to the other, holding out the smart watch on his wrist, “It’s really good I have this thing. It’s 1:35.”