Whether you believe it or not, the use of technology and iPads in our schools has drastically changed from doing work on paper. Students now have excellent access to the internet, and the range of knowledge in the classroom has expanded. Additionally, how we take and submit assignments and tests has gone primarily digital. However, this opens the door for students to use unauthorized sites and help during an online assignment or test, which could lead to a student into some trouble. Distractions on websites and videos could prevent a student from learning more efficiently and even worsen the classroom’s state. Regardless of the positives and negatives of the iPads and other technology, the impact they have caused will most likely be the most significant change in our schools for a long time.
We, students, can all agree that iPads are great and that they are much preferred over paper. But what do teachers think of this new wave of technology in our classroom? I interviewed Mr. Kellermann for his thoughts and opinions on how iPads and online assignments have changed schools and their differences compared to paper. Mr. Kellermann, when asked about the changes in assignments from paper to iPads, said: “I believe online assignments can be valuable with evaluation, and tests can be tricky.” He explains this by saying some students can learn on paper easier, especially with math-related topics. Mr. Kellermann also says that apps such as Notability, Peardeck, and Nearpod have benefitted and expanded the number of ways you can do assignments online. He sums the information up by calling the use of iPads a “double-edged sword because there are great things about them, but there are also things to worry about.”
When it comes to learning any topic, whether history, science, or math, all students have their preferred teaching method. When it comes to being different, Mr. Kellermann said math is probably the subject that will mainly use the format of learning with paper and pencil, but there are ways to learn it on the iPad with websites like Deltamath. He also says there are apps on the iPad like Google Sweep that allow students to learn about topics that would be harder to teach on paper and was quoted as saying, “I think that if the teacher learns how to use it in a creative way, it could be certainly beneficial.” Some websites allow the student to interact with it and see how different it can be from reading an excerpt from a book or notes about the topic. However, he believes that with all the positives come some negatives, including websites that don’t help the student or the teacher during a class.
With the amount of access the iPads give us, there are ways to do stuff that doesn’t help you learn or listen to what’s happening in the class. Teachers can be incredibly frustrated with how these distractions can disrupt the class and can eventually lead to the student being called out in front of everyone. For example, Mr. Kellermann said, “I typically have to call out some students who are distracted, but then you learn who they are, and it’s the usual suspects.” He says that it is the student’s responsibility to be aware of what they are doing on the iPad, and if you’re watching a YouTube video, you should do that somewhere else, but definitely not in school. However, he believes learning on an iPad is better than on paper if appropriately used. He discussed how when some students go to college, some schools don’t allow iPads or laptops in class, so they need to learn how to take notes. Finally, he sums everything up by saying that while iPads are helpful, taking notes and using paper is still essential.
Not only are iPads valuable and beneficial to students, but teachers also have reasons why they prefer them over taking notes and doing assignments on paper. iPads introduce new ways of learning and teaching that would be considered very difficult to pull off with paper and pencil. With a student having more access to the internet than ever, it allows them to be distracted and go to sites they shouldn’t be. After introducing technology in the classroom in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no doubt that they have changed schools forever, whether the reasons are negative or positive.