Students who have tested next year’s 6th Generation iPads discuss their experiences

By Matthew Shepherd, ’19

One of the largest changes students will be facing in the coming years at UAHS is the shift from district-issued laptops to district-issued iPads. This proposed change has been met with anger and skepticism by many students. One such student is junior Peter Johanni, who actively uses his computer for coding.

“When I first heard about the change, I was really mad,” Johanni said. “I like the computers and we can’t code Java on iPads. I didn’t want to type essays on them and there are so many problems that I thought would be unsolvable.”

Recently, Johanni volunteered to pre-test the iPads to see how they would function within student life. He said his decision was based on a recommendation from his computer science teacher Diane Kahle and his desire to help make the transition smooth and relatively painless.

“I wanted to help make the iPads the best they could be for students next year and I figured that I could help find all the bugs and problems so that we don’t have to deal with them next year,” he said.

Initially, Johanni said his reactions were more negative than positive. Many of these negatives included the durability of the hardware and the overall capabilities of the machines.

“I broke the stylus within two weeks of having it. Also, the word processing isn’t great but it works okay,” Johanni said. “The big problem is that applications I constantly used on the computer, like coding JavaScript, SketchUp and printing are all not possible from the iPads.”

Despite these immediate flaws, Johanni said he began to find that the iPads had positive applications as well. These ranged from additional accessibility to sites like Schoology and Netflix to the ease at which he could take notes during class.

“With the iPads, note taking is really fun and really easy,” Johanni said. “The Schoology app works great and it’s nice to have so many school apps that make going to frequented sites super easy. We have Netflix, Spotify and YouTube which makes the iPads useful outside of school as well.”

Johanni is optimistic about the machines and their integration into the upcoming school years, especially with the new high school a few years down the line.

“Timed writings are going to be rough, and the durability of the case and iPad will also be interesting to track next year because I think they will be less durable. That being said, they are cheaper, lighter, smaller and can take better notes,” Johanni said.

Despite Johanni’s optimism, other students who are testing the devices don’t see the change as positively. Junior Matthew Giammar, who tests the iPads in the same way as Johanni, believes that they are a step backwards.

“Without the stylus, note taking and other paper-like tasks are difficult. Overall I think the iPad is a less effective learning tool than the laptop,” Giammar said.