The 2013-14 school year marked the start of Coachella Valley Unified School District’s 1:1 Mobile Learning iPad Initiative, which will eventually provide every student with an iPad and faculty members with an iPad and a MacBook Air laptop.
On the district’s website, superintendent Dr. Darryl Adams states, “We are very excited about the education transformation taking place in our district. The students in our district will be well equipped to learn in the new 21st century learning environments that we are transforming to, that includes specific content instruction in science, special education, language arts, mathematics, social studies, physical education, foreign language as well as fine and performing arts.”
But what do students think? Coachella Valley High School seniors April Alarcón and Juan Flores share their very different personal experiences with their iPads to date.
My iPad is a Fun Distraction
I can guarantee you the majority of my classmates would agree with the above statement.
As seniors, we had the privilege of receiving the iPads before anyone else. The iPads were obviously intended to assist and organize students with schoolwork. Some students do use them to achieve that goal, but most students use them for fun.
Students, myself included, abuse the privilege of having an iPad by playing games during school hours when we should be on task. I hate to admit it, but we are not mature enough to handle such a blessing properly.
If you walk into a senior class and take a look around, this is what you will see: easily distracted and unfocused kids with shiny new toys. It is rare to find a student on task.
I can’t say I am happy to have an iPad. It is great fun and very entertaining, but playing games (when I should be doing homework) has become a terrible habit. The iPad is so tempting! I have become more of a procrastinator than ever.
Honestly, I know I am not the only one who feels this way. The iPads are not being used as intended, making me wonder if they should they be taken away. The blessing has become a curse, making every student even worse.
This is what the school used their funds on? Seems like a waste to me.
Will anything be done?
– Juan Flores
My iPad is a Great Study Aid
CVUSD issued its students iPads in hopes of providing a significant study aid, and this has been the case for me.
Without a doubt, the iPads can be a distraction, as one can easily go from one application to another without teachers noticing. However, for students who choose to use the device as a study aid, the iPads have been very helpful.
Within a few weeks, I found it had become a great asset. I have become more organized and on task. The iPads make it easy to stay organized, do quick searches online, work on assignments, and stay in touch with classmates. Instead of rummaging through a mess of papers looking for notes, I can easily find them on my iPad. When teachers are giving lectures, I can type the information a lot faster than struggling to write as fast as they speak. Tools on the iPad make my learning experience a lot more efficient. I can define words from any page on the device, work on assignments virtually anywhere, and use apps the district has bought for us, such as Pages, Keynote, even one for AP Macroeconomics. Recently, teachers have been using Internet tools such as Edmodo to post and turn in assignments.
With Wi-Fi throughout the school, all of this can be done quickly.
I do not own a computer and sincerely believe my school year would have been more stressful had it not been for my iPad. As a senior, I have responsibilities other than schoolwork. It’s a relief to be able to work on college applications anywhere.
My friends and I use the iPads very often; we use them for fun just as often as schoolwork. Nonetheless, I have become more adamant about my schoolwork since I received the iPad.
The iPads are a huge investment for our community even though the payoff will not be evident for a long time. However, I believe the iPads are a wise use of funds. Students can work more effectively; and, as society becomes more and more integrated with technology, the iPads offer us access to technology without worrying about being able to afford it.
– April Alarcón