Present Over Future: iPads Not the Issue

Tyler Leahy
Opinions Editor

 

 

 

 

leahyAfter the duration of an arduous process that began back in 2013 with a group of faculty volunteers, it appears there has been a decision made in regards to the iPad initiative. Students will likely have the opportunity to opt-in to a new student iPad program, but will not be required.

I personally did not attend any informative events about the iPad initiative, and neglected to respond to the survey. I do not have the grounds to dispute the potential positives of the iPad’s classroom application. I believe there are undeniable positives to forward thinking about how to make Springfield College classrooms more interactive, anyways.

The survey seems to have generated mixed responses upon first glance. For this reason, an opt-in policy makes sense. However, if cohesive interactivity is the goal, it does not.

Regardless of classroom use, a device such as an iPad could have positive implications for students, making collaboration quick and easy. During the prolonged exploration of the matter, professorial iPad use was a focal point. By choosing an opt-in policy rather than a hard “yes” or hard “no” answer to the feasibility, there really isn’t a whole lot to be gained.

My main argument against the iPad initiative is this: before adding an iPad to the equation of technology on this campus, the current technology should be repaired, improved upon, and better applied.

We are now a few years removed from Moodle’s initial implementation and there are still professors who do not know how to properly use it as a resource. Many of those who do know how to use it elect not to, citing Moodle’s endless bugs and kinks as their reasoning.

Even more so ignored are the capabilities offered by Google Drive. Google Drive is perhaps the greatest advantage to PrideMail being run through Google, and it is utilized sparingly. While I see students using Google Drive to collaborate and share information, it seems that many are not aware of the conveniences it offers.  In my time at Springfield College, I have very rarely seen a professor use Google Drive for any reason.

PrideNet is problematic, with no capability to go back to a previous page without reentering the web address. Mobile rendering of the portal is also horrendously bad.

There are a lot of individuals taken into account in terms of our Wi-Fi network. The network has to account for the entire Springfield College community, which is a difficult task. With that said, the Wi-Fi is noticeably weak on the edges of campus and is often much slower than suitable for a competitive college campus.

Certainly our campus has seen significant technological betterment in my four years as a student. Campus staff works very hard to continue improvements. Simply put, continuing improvements on existing technology and its usage should be prioritized before bringing in new technology.

Before iPads or any other advancements are introduced, the disconnect that exists between what we have and what we don’t should be addressed. Perhaps members of our campus are ill-informed on how to use pre-existing technology available to them. Perhaps members of campus are unclear about voicing their concerns about the quality of said technology. Either is possible. In my personal experience, grumblings are constant from peers, faculty, and staff in regards to how far behind Springfield College is in terms of technology. The implementation of iPads may be a way to combat such dissatisfaction, but it should not be the foremost one.

Another survey may be a great way to get answers that are more pertinent. I know, I know. The guy who didn’t respond to the iPad feasibility survey because he thought it was stupid is suggesting another survey.

“How can iPads help our campus?” Before that question is asked, a more pressing one should be: “How can we improve the troublesome state of our pre-existing technologies?”

Again, this is not to undermine any of the hard work done by staff working to maintain our technologies or find answers in regards to iPad feasibility. I just want to emphasize that our focus should not be on future technologies. While it would be great to add technological resources to the Springfield College educational experience, current technologies should be assessed and improved upon first and foremost.

Perhaps iPads are feasible tools that Springfield College students will take great advantage of in coming years. It’s an exciting proposition.

Changes can be made to our current technological amenities. Even if they are not, our college community can be better informed on how to best use them.

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