iPad or iBad?


Affy Koungoulos

Though iPads have sometimes been accused of being glorified iPhones with larger screens, they seem like an altogether useful device. The idea of having a 9.5 x 7.3 inch screen to devote to high-resolution Robot Unicorn Attack sounds tempting, so I understand the device’s runaway popularity the past couple of years. Every time I’m on the CTA, I see at least one person reading a book or composing emails on their iPad, proving that the device has value beyond colorful video game apps. Some schools have even adopted iPads as learning tools in the classroom. Always on the cutting edge of technology, Latin is unsurprisingly one of them. The idea first started in the Middle and Lower Schools, and its success prompted administrators to introduce them to the Upper School. Interestingly enough, the results were surprisingly different.

This year’s freshman class was given the unique chance to try out iPads in the classroom. However, the general consensus wasn’t the positive one we may have hoped for. When I wandered into freshman-populated spaces and asked them if they liked the iPads, their answer was a resounding “No.” Many freshmen said they simply didn’t see the need for another gadget in the classroom. As Jessica Ziegler explains, “They felt unnecessary, because I only used them in one class.” Fellow classmate Nick Rose echoed her sentiments, adding that, “For people with laptops, they were a little redundant because we already had the resources to do work.” He does mention, however, “They may be more helpful for people without laptops.” In the same vein, Grace Coberly suggested that loaning students laptops in the first place might have been more useful. “Teachers forget we have the iPads, most of the time,” she admitted. “It worked better in middle school.” Of all the freshmen I polled, one student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he liked the iPads but “didn’t see the point in keeping them.” He added, “I do have a lot of high scores on it, though…”

Since the trial run unfortunately didn’t go as well as planned, the junior class won’t be given the same opportunity to test out the iPads.  Perhaps the devices may have been more useful in a year where more elective classes are allowed? A few students in my English and history classes have taken to buying digital copies of our course readings and annotating them virtually. I commend Latin for keeping up with their tradition of embracing change, especially in this digital era. And we may all find ourselves using strictly paperless devices in the not so distant future. After all, what’s not to love about a gadget that allows you to take notes on physics lectures and unlock the 400th level of Candy Crush mere moments later?