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Presentation’s New iPad Program

Catherine Bowman, Features Editor

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The advent of the 2017-2018 school year comes with an exciting new change to Presentation’s technology: brand new iPads. At the end of this school year, all students will turn in their old iPads and be given an iPad Pro complete with a keyboard, an Apple Pencil, and a sturdier case with an accompanying holster for the Apple Pencil.

Finding the appropriate technology to replace the old iPads was not an easy task, according to Vice Principal of Academics Katherine Georgiev. Georgiev explained that the team in charge of scoping out the options for the new iPads consisted of the administration, Presentation’s technology team, the Ed-Tech Committee consisting of many of Presentation’s teachers, and a committee of the Board of Trustees that focuses on technology.

The new iPads come with a variety of new features and protections against inappropriate uses, like a redesigned firewall that blocks the streaming of non education related sites such as Netflix and Instagram. Additionally, the iPads will come with a number of pre-approved apps and students will not be allowed to access the App Store any longer.

These new changes have prompted many mixed feelings from the students of Presentation. Some students are looking forward to the new iPads and the exciting new features that will come with it, like sophomore Savannah Bruggeman, who said, “I am super excited to have the new case with the keyboard. I think it will be very useful in every class. I am also very excited to have the Apple Pencil and the ability to explore the split screen option.”

The new changes like the firewall and the blocking of the App Store came out of an audit studying how students were using Presentation’s wireless network: “We did an audit this year and the number one use of our wireless was Snapchat in any given school day,” Georgiev said, “We were very trusting in the first version of our acceptable use policies and we found that those policies were allowing the iPads to become more of a distraction than anything else.”

This particular addition to the policy was met with resistance from the student body. Junior Evan Heath says that she understands why the administration would want to take certain precautionary methods but she personally feels that “they’re going a bit overboard. Restricting our access to the App Store doesn’t seem particularly fair, in that they gave us these tools to use not just for school, but for our free time as well. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to play games or watch Netflix during collaboration?”

The point the administration is worried about is the fact that the iPads were not being used for their intended purpose: to be an educational tool in the classroom. When students do not abide by this purpose, the consequences are tighter policies and more monitoring that students often are not happy with. At the end of the day, the iPads are given to the students for education, not for pleasure devices.

Additionally, many students have been worried about the predetermined apps and whether or not they will be able to get the apps they deem necessary for school, but are not needed in the classroom, like the homework app MyHomework.

“We want to have an open conversation with students. If there is a study tool that students feel is essential and needs to be pushed out to students, then technology will hear that feedback and try to accommodate student requests that are reasonable and make sense for the whole student body,” Georgiev said.

Along with the implementation of stricter policies regarding social media and other non educational apps comes the worry that students will be on their phones more, a direct violation of Presentation’s very tight no phone policy. Having the iPads have kept students from taking their phones out during class, but without the access to social media apps and games, students may be incentivized to start bringing their phones out in class.

“I think that’s always a challenge, classroom management, and the trust between student and teacher. I think that certainly students will be incentivized to use their phones because they won’t have access to those apps on their iPads and it will be up to students to follow the rules and teachers to enforce them very early on,” Georgiev said about the enforcement of the phone policy.

The exchange for the new iPads will take place at the end of this school year, so students will have the summer to get to know their new iPads. Students may turn in their old iPads for their new ones either on Thursday, June 1 from noon to 3:30 pm or on Friday, June 2 from 7:30am to 8:30 am or from noon to 3:30 pm.

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Presentation’s New iPad Program