Computer Controversy—MacBooks or iPads?

from Issue 2


he iPads have created controversy since their release during last year, and students have been complaining ever since. They were told that the iPads were better, that they had more memory, they had a split-screen function, and they had capability for an Logitech Crayon. These promises have fallen on deaf ears, as students hold the same opinions they did when the iPads were released. Students say that the iPads make it impossible to type—the keys are very bouncy, creating a risk of accidentally locking one’s iPad while they are working. This seems to be the most-hated part of the iPads, and is typically what one hears when people complain about them. Senior Azaria McDowell believes, “There are literally no positives for the iPad. Their keyboards…suck, sorry. It’s very disadvantageous.” However, P.J. Martin asserts that students should stop griping about the iPads and deal with it because it is what they have for now. Teachers are torn between the subject. Chemistry teacher Richard West says that “it’s very difficult to access Greek symbols on the iPad for advanced units.” However, as English teacher Sandra McKay states, “The iPad does everything that the students want it to—it just requires a bit more effort….I understand why they made the move.” Head of Technology Eddie Wettach explains, “We felt that it met the needs of the academic day….The keyboard is certainly something that’s not quite as good as a computer, and so we encourage students to…look at getting an external keyboard.” 

The keyboards are not the only problem, though. Many say that their iPads randomly shut down for a couple of seconds each day. Also, the pens used for iPads are not used by many students, at least not by freshmen. Most-note taking is done on paper. Many have broken pens or simply never charge them. The pens cost $50 apiece and are completely wireless; therefore, they do not have anything that connects them to the iPad to prevent loss or theft. Since it is electronic, this means students are expected to charge their iPad and pen. This does not include other devices they may own like their phones or computers. This may mean that they will have to choose what they will charge and what they will not.
The only positive thing students have to
say about the iPads is the use of GoodNotes. To many, this advantage of the iPad is outweighed by the good of the computer. As with many other issues, students and staff are split on the decision to use the limiting, yet versatile iPad. The machines are usually replaced after three years, so only at that time will Jackson Academy find the results of using tablets.