Watchscreen: Craig McClellan, teacher and blogger

Watchscreens is a weekly series exploring how different people are using Apple Watch in their lives. Like sharing iPhone home screens, there’s a lot to learn and discover from others in this brand-new category. McClellan-headThis week I’m glad to share the watchscreen of Craig McClellan (Twitter). Craig is an elementary school teacher and a self-described nerd. He’s combined both those passions in his excellent blog, theclassnerd.com, which has a ton of productivity ideas applicable well beyond the classroom. So, Craig, show us your watchscreen!

What watch/band combination do you have? Why did you choose it?
I have the 42mm stainless steel Apple Watch. I ordered it with the classic buckle, which I like (and my wife prefers), but I have also just received a white sport band which I actually prefer. ss42whitesportIt’s comfortable, and looks as special as this watch feels. I do still switch between the two though. I chose the stainless steel simply because I preferred how it looked to the aluminum. I figured if this device was going to be worn and visible every day, I wanted to be happy with how it looked so I splurged and got stainless. I’m incredibly happy I did.

How is Apple Watch fitting into your life?
Apple Watch very quickly settled into my daily life. I have worn a watch for years, so looking at it for quick information is natural for me. I have found that my phone is used significantly less because essential information comes to me on the watch, so I don’t get bogged down in the insignificant. On a fun note, I am writing this while sitting on an airplane having just purchased coffee and boarded the plane using my watch. That was a blast. Finally, the fitness features are really nice. They haven’t necessarily changed any of my behaviors yet, but getting an idea of what a normal day looks like for me has been great. School gets out soon, and I am excited to adapt my routine to meet my goals then.

What watch faces & complications are you using and why?
Utility is always my go to face. McClellan-faceWhen I first got the watch, I regularly tried others, only to go right back to Utility. I like the customizations available to this face, and the 4 complications are laid out in a way that’s pleasing to me visually, and also useful. I change the detail and colors to suit my mood that day, but the face stays the same. In the upper left, I keep my activity rings. I look at this fairly regularly, and it’s nice to have it visible (and the app accessible through the complication) right on the face. The upper right is a timer. Between timing my students on various things and doing a lot of the cooking in my house, I use timers a lot. Not having to keep the timer app open to check it is nice. In the middle of the clock, I keep the date because I need it regularly, but never remember it. At the bottom I keep the weather. Before the watch, I kept Dark Sky as the top widget in the Today View of my iPhone. That was the easiest place to quickly get a temperature and forecast until now. I just always like knowing what the weather is outside, and this complication is great.

What Glances do you use and why?
I have more Glances enabled than I actually use. Primarily I use the settings (I love pinging my iPhone now that I’m not glued to it), music (so handy in my classroom!), and heart rate. I’ll try new ones out when I download a new app, but very few have been useful to me.

What’s your strategy for getting the right notifications on Apple Watch?
I keep what comes to the watch at a minimum because I only want to handle important, urgent, or exciting things there. Right now that consists of text messages, phone calls, reminders, OmniFocus, Dark Sky, and Deliveries (because every package I order still makes me feel like a kid at Christmas). If I receive a tap on the wrist, I know I should at least look at it. However, if my phone goes off in my pocket, I don’t jump for it anymore because I know it isn’t urgent.

How are you using Apple Watch’s communication features?
I very rarely use Apple Watch’s communication features because no one I’m close enough with to send a heart beat or a tap actually has a watch. Occasionally I will send a creepy emoji hand, but I do that as a joke and not seriously. I’m interested to see how this changes as more people get watches, but for now I have no use for them.

How do you organize your apps and why?
McClellan-appsThough I have this lovely quadrilateral (born out of an afternoon of fiddling and nothing more), the apps I actually use on a regular basis or am experimenting with are what you see when you first access my app screen.McClellan-most They’re all easily tappable, and if I happen to want something else, I can scroll to it. [Apps shown in this most-used screen but not otherwise mentioned in this post are Drafts, Clear, and Alarm.com] The only rhyme and reason to the shape is that (generally) Apple’s native apps are to the right of the watch face icon, and 3rd party apps are to the left.

What Apple Watch apps are you using most and why?
OmniFocus is my task manager, so being able to remind myself what needs to be done and check things off from my wrist is amazing. Workflow is a lot of fun on Apple Watch. I have a great workflow for playing particular songs in my classroom which tell my students to transition to certain activities. I leave my phone plugged into the room’s sound system, and can trigger that from anywhere. Calcbot is handy as well. Every once in a while, I need to do a simple calculation, and the wrist is a handy place for that. I also really like Overcast, Music, and Remote for handling media.

What apps do you think best leverage the uniqueness of Apple Watch? Why?
The best Apple Watch apps to me are the ones that realize this is not a small iPhone. OmniFocus, Calcbot, and Overcast do this really well. Their interaction models make use of the small screen and force touch well. They’re easy to use, and offer quick information. They aren’t designed for long interactions.

What app would you like that doesn’t exist yet?
This is cheating as the app does exist already, but I would love for Workflow to do more on the watch app without having to handoff to the iPhone. A lot of my workflows would be really handy on the watch, but are a bit too complicated to be fully used there.

If you could change only one thing about Apple Watch, what would you change?
App speed. It may be cliché, but it’s just true. Having the watch screen turn off while an app is still loading is a pain.

What would you tell someone who doesn’t have an Apple Watch but is considering one?
Apple Watch is not a necessity. It is still young as a platform, and could definitely grow. However, I get a lot of joy out of using it. It is convenient, beautiful, and fun. If that interests you, go for it!

What else would you like to share?
As I mentioned above, I am traveling while writing this. Apple Watch has been so useful on this trip. My family went to a theme park, and for the whole day, my cell phone was able to stay in my wife’s bag so I wasn’t worried about it on rides, but I was still able to take a phone call from my mom which was urgent. After a whole day in a theme park with no wifi, my phone’s battery was at 90%, and my watch at 70%. It was so nice to be unplugged and enjoy my day while still getting urgent info.

Thanks Craig (Twitter) & check out his blog, theclassnerd.com for more! Check back next week for another watchscreen! You can subscribe to this site via RSSTumblr or by following MarkDMill on Twitter.

If you enjoyed this, you might also want to check out the weekly review of Apple Watch I’ve been doing:

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