Testing the iPad in a Classroom Environment by Gabe Landau

When the iPad was created, it was not intended for use in a school or other enterprise environment. However, schools across the globe are implementing new technologies into their curriculum. A couple weeks ago, the Lynnfield Helpdesk students were each given an iPad and told do use it for school, documenting what we used them for.

The Bad

First, lets talk about what every student is going to do to their iPad, restore and jailbreak. No student enjoys being watched, and no one enjoys paying for applications or only being able to do what the iPad allows you to do by default. Considering the iPad was not designed to be managed, all the certificates and management software can be removed with ease, by simply clicking “remove” in the settings applications. This allows students to use their iPad’s unsupervised, and unrestricted. Now in terms of jailbreaking, from students in the school to Apple’s own employees, everyone will consider jailbreaking their device. It just will happen, and there is not much a management team can do about that.

In terms of use, the iPad is extremely difficult to use in terms of English, foreign language, etc. Lacking a keyboard and mouse, it is hardly “practical” to type an essay on the iPad.

Another issue I have is with eBooks. If you have an eBook on your iPad, and you need to take notes on it, you would need to switch back and forth between them. A solution could be to take a screenshot of the book, but some teachers could consider that cheating.

The Good

The iPad is great for many things despite its downsides. Taking notes in math is very intuitive, using the app Notability. This application allows you to import PDF’s (which my teacher saves her presentations as so I can download and use them) and then write on them. However, if you do not have a stylus, this can be very tedious. The camera of the iPad can also be used to take pictures and import them into Notability documents, allowing me to take a picture of the SMART board and use that in my notes.

Keeping track of my homework is also great on the iPad, using the myHomework app. It synchronizes with my phone and computer, allowing me to check my homework from anywhere I am.

Overall

Overall, the iPad is a good tool for student use. I do not think it should be mandatory, I believe that a laptop serves a better use in the school. I think if a student wishes to bring in their iPad for school, they should be allowed to do so.

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