The pilot program that required iPads for Juniors in 2014-2015 will not be extended to the incoming class.
The decision to discontinue the program was based on a minimal uptake of iPad usage this year. Next year, Juniors will need a laptop or tablet of their choice as required by their teachers.
Patricia Russell, Dean of Studies, wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “As it turned out, because some Juniors are placed in languages higher than the 100-level and not all languages participated and because all students have laptops that they can bring to class now, we are shifting the policy slightly for 2015-2016.”
Under the new policy, department chairs may require iPads if and only if they will be used for all of the department’s 100-300 level courses. The students of the classes will be guaranteed two to three full years of iPad usage and the cost of the device will be balanced out by the less costly e-books.
Paul Cernota, Instructor and Chair in Chemistry, “Personally, I don’t think that the need [for iPads exists] for so many departments and so many students that as an institution, we should commit to a single device.”
Erin McCloskey, the Associate Director of Educational Initiatives, said that the new policy will resemble the “bring your own device” policy already issued for Lowers, Uppers, Seniors and Post-Graduates. She predicts, however, that the iPad will remain the most popular device for the ninth grade.
McCloskey said, “I think that effective learning is about good teaching and that iPads, pencils, books, phones can all be tools to support that process when used well.”
The iPad policy for this year’s ninth grade was implemented because most 100-level language teachers were incorporating the device into their lesson plans.
“The iPad was seen as a device that matched the skill level of a diverse ninth-grade student body. And so at the time, that was the judgment of the best device, so everyone would have the same thing, be in the same boat and have the device needed to use in classes,” said McCloskey.
This year, iPads are primarily used in classes for note-taking, especially with apps such as Evernote and Notability. They are also used in the Science Department to interact with data acquisition devices, enabling students to work with their lab data. In some language classes, iPads are used to create personal eBooks, incorporating audio and video as well as text.
Cernota said, “I think like any device, [the iPad] has its good points and its bad points. There are some interesting apps that can be used on the iPad that enhance the chemistry experience. But I don’t think they are required, which is why I haven’t required iPads for my students.”