iPad Test Year Ends with Mixed Reviews
This school year marked the beginning of something remarkable. No, I’m not talking about the first baseball team under Coach Hall or the trend of boys disrobing during Spirit Week skits. Rather, the iPad program concluded its first year. Two teachers were asked: To what extent was the iPad program a success or a failure? (It is AP exam season after all…) And just like any answer to that type of question, it was a little bit of both.
“It was to a great extent a success,” Mr. Hornor declared, pointing out the great advances in note taking and picture viewing, especially on more obscure features of some works. He absolutely intends to continue the use of iPads for next year and beyond. He believes that with many of the issues inherent in any new program dealt with, the program will become standardized and institutionalized.
It was much more of a mixed review from Ms. Stevens’ new AP World History class. Starting with a snafu that left some students without an e-text for a few weeks, the class got off to a bumpy start, because the collaboration power of Google Docs on shared notes proved too new for seniors used to turning in their own weekly chapter notes. Other online resources such as chapter quizzes wound up being used largely outside of class. Ms. Stevens has now elected to make the iPad optional for the class, since several students got by just fine this year without using it. Nevertheless, she is optimistic and will continue to try and find new and interesting ways to incorporate technology more efficiently next year.
The question becomes, what about other classes? Will more of them fall to tablet fever? So far, no more teachers have come forward with a new iPad-integrated class. However, for those students with iPads, there has been a substantial and noticeable increase in allowance of iPads across several classes by teachers. Will the iPads remain in niche classes where there is a genuine advantage? Or will enterprising teachers find new ways of teaching using interactivity and technology? Only time will tell.
By Simon Wu, Technology Editor ’12
Photo Credit: Simon Wu