iPads Hit Classrooms, A New Meaning to Bringing an Apple to Class


Which of the first cars was nicer?

There’s something different at Thornton Academy this year.  It’s not the cafeteria food, it’s not the building itself, although there were some renovations this summer.  It’s the fact that wherever you look, students will be staring down at brand new  Apple iPads in their classes.

In Latin class, for example, students who used to have no way to translate tough pieces of Latin can now tap on the word and see its definition instantly.  Senior Jacob Jalbert, says that it’s very helpful with his homework. “The words are right there in front of you and it’s really cool,” Jalbert says.

It’s a huge change from traditional methods at Thornton, where whiteboards and bulky textbooks have been the key tools for the past generations.

T.A. students are not alone in this transition. This year, nearly 40,000 Maine public school students and teachers are utilizing iPads purchased under a contract put in place last year by the Maine Department of Education.

Thornton is just one school in a sort of revolution of technological advancement in the United States educational system to start implementing iPads into everyday student life.  Younger age groups have been doing it for years, and school administrators everywhere have seen the potential for iPads to change the traditional ways of schooling.

According to Apple’s official website, the main talking point with iPads in classrooms is the fact that students can now lift the burden of carrying around massive weights on their backs, and replace them with online textbooks.

At Thornton Academy, students in science and math classes use the iPads to check up on their knowledge with mini quizlets on an app called Nearpod which allows teachers to see students’ grades instantly, which has never been a feature before in schools.

According to bbcactive.com, iPads bring students more resources than ever before, what with thesaurus’, dictionaries, and encyclopedias all at their disposal, and all within reach with the swipe of a finger.

According to Pearson Foundation’s survey, more than six in ten college and high school students agree that tablets are more efficient for studying.

Also, in a study done by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in California, students using iPads saw that their math test scores increased by 20 percent in one year.  The research shows that they can be beneficial tools for students all across the country.

iPads couldn’t of come at a better time in the ever changing world of technology.  Google has just announced that they will be allocating five terabytes of storage space for each student and teacher on Google Drive.  Google is calling the program Google Drives for Education.

By giving students and teachers so much storage space, Google is looking to expand educational opportunities and give students a place to store their creative and inventive ideas.  They will virtually never run out of space with five terabytes.   

At Thornton Academy, the school has brought in staff members specifically for the new iPads to make sure the transition from traditional school methods to iPads is a smooth as possible.

Mrs. Doyle is the school’s primary Tech Integration Specialist.  When asked about google drives for education and iPads in school, she said,  “I’ve been here for a short time, but I’ve never seen someone even come close to using all their storage.”  She says that she doesn’t think that all the new technology will immediately affect a transition from common schools methods to electronic versions.  Even though people can now store all their class materials online, things won’t change in the foreseeable future, according to Doyle.

But when they do change, they’ll change fast.  iPads are quickly taking over in schools all throughout the country, and around the world.  They offer a quick, efficient way for taks to be accomplished, that, in the past, might not be as easy using school methods of the past.

“The whole point seems to be to make life easier for us,” says senior Jacob Jalbert.  “And it is getting easier, because I can see what my assignments are online, instead of having to remember them.”

Looking around the school, that seems to be the common trend.  However, Eddie Ines thinks that students may misuse iPads and only use them for games.  “I think students will be using the iPads for games when the teachers aren’t looking.  It sure seems tempting.” Tempting as it may be, students are urged to only play games on their free time.

Mr. Arenstam, the leader of the tech team, says he hates video games. “Video games are sort of the factor that is going to dumb down this generation.” Could he be right? Eddie doesn’t think so. “Video games are nice, and I like them, but I don’t think they make you less smart.”

So whether you love them, or hate them, iPads are rapidly growing into schools around the country and soon around the world, if the trend continues. It shows how much we are going to rely on technology in the future, and how much it is changing our educational world today.

Here at Thornton Academy, iPads are in their trial phase, and, if all should go well, they will stick around for the long haul.  Students are walking the halls with their iPads weighing down their bags now, and not text books.

They are preparing themselves for an ever changing world where technology is heavily relied on to be our number one resource for important information, and they will be one step ahead of the game once they graduate.

So the Thornton Academy motto of “preparing students for a changing world” has never rung truer around these old halls.  This is a new chapter in education, and T.A are definitely diving right into the revolution.

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