Hallam: new iPads overwhelm campus

By Kara Hallam

Staff Writer

Suddenly, an awkward silence filled my lunch table. I glanced up to find that once again they were completely absorbed into their iPads.

Coppell High School’s tech initiative has provided students with shiny new iPads and along with that, a few anti-social tendencies and a loss of in class focus that has left teachers puzzled and falling behind.

In just about any class, you can bet there is at least one teenage boy playing fantasy football on his iPad in the room. As one of my friends likes to say, as his attention span goes down his Madden score goes up. It is pretty obvious that along with the iPads comes the risk of being off task in class.

Sophomore Allison Kennedy utilizes her iPad in KCBY. KCBY students use their iPads to write segment proposals and scripts. Photo by Regan Sullivan.

Class distractions are not that big of a deal. The student has the responsibility of educating themselves, and if they choose not to or they merely just work on it later, that is up to them. However, it cannot be ignored that the iPads have certainly offered a new resource to lose all focus in the middle of any course lecture while still hiding under the disguise of just typing notes.

Often times, my classmates and I get lost between trying to keep up with the new technology and finish an assignment. Not only did we have to learn the lesson, but also how to adapt to the extremely complicated technical procedures that followed. At times, it felt like we spent more time in endless frustration against uncooperative technology than on the actual assignment.

There was a lot of learning we missed out on because we were so caught up in getting the technology work.

The iPads are new for everyone: students and teachers, alike. I do understand that this has been just the first few weeks of this new technology and it is something we are all trying to learn to adapt to, but these glitches are proving to be seriously stressful.

Several times in the process of turning in a project, a teacher has given us a program to use. However, when students start experimenting with these apps on the iPad, they quickly encounter technical difficulties and the whole project is delayed.

Barely anyone has been spared of an iPad technical difficulty. Hopefully with experience these issues decrease over time, but what important time has been lost in the process of encountering and dealing with these problems?

The introduction of any technology has always aroused questionable teenage social tendencies. Before school started, my friends and I used to joke about how the iPads would make us all practically asocial. Now, we actually do spend our lunches consumed by school work on our iPads.

That work does need to get done, but lunch used to be that one break from it. This break has basically vanished with convenient access to all our classwork.

And who can forget that just as ridiculously “first world” as all my complaints are so is having school issued iPads.

My 26-year-old sister, who is a financial adviser, still complains every time she sees me with my school issued iPads as she pulls out her own that she worked extremely hard for.

Although the iPads are for the benefit of our education, I cannot help but feel a little overrated in a debate round arguing for the equality of the disadvantaged classes and against the oppression of the poor with a $500 device in hand compared to my opponents’ pen and paper.

Speaking of debate, I know it is a little cliché to whine about the underfunding of the fine arts, but it does not really make sense for a school to issue unnecessary gadgets when there are several extracurricular departments with an obvious lack of funds.

The iPads are in its earliest of stages and CHS has been trying to get over a few technical humps these past few weeks. All the problems with the iPads are obvious and typical from glitches to affecting teen socializing and whether or not this was a worthy expense. Just because these difficulties were expected does not make them any better.