Are iPads in classrooms doing more harm than good? Vargas’ View Con

Vicente Francisco ’19

Brandon Vargas '20, Opinion Editor

Technology inundates students today with a plethora of knowledge, providing access to tons of sources of information. However, technology, iPads specifically, can prove to be extremely distracting in an academic environment.

Here at Archbishop Riordan High School, all students are required to possess an iPad. Are iPads really beneficial to our learning in an academic environment?

I believe that iPads can be detrimental to a student’s learning if they are not utilized properly. Although iPads should remain a part of this institution, I believe that their use in the classroom should be limited, unless instructed otherwise by the teacher. While some teachers argue that iPads are extremely useful in an academic environment, others tend to be annoyed by the use of technology in the classroom when they should not be out in the first place.

The real dispute arises from the multiple distractions offered by the iPad. For instance, one may receive periodic notifications throughout their class, distracting them from the lesson being taught. Moreover, an individual may be inclined to play games or search the internet when being taught, especially if the lesson does not appeal to their interests.

From personal experience, I can attest to the fact that there is at least one student in each of my classes doing some task not related to his education. Countless times I have witnessed a teacher telling one of my classmates to put his iPad away.

Studies have also shown that the mere presence of technology, even if it is located in a student’s pocket, is a detriment to a student’s ability to learn. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Communication Education concluded that, in general, students who use their phones in class are less likely to retain information from a lecture than those who do not use their phones in class. This difference in knowledge transmutes into test scores as well: the students who did not use their phones in class typically scored a letter and a half grade higher on an exam than those who did use their phones in class.

The use of technology in the classroom when not permitted contributes to the animosity teachers have toward the iPad. When students are on their iPads without consent from the teacher, it connotes a certain level of disrespect. Teachers spend countless hours preparing class lectures and activities, but what good is that hard work when students refuse to pay attention in class?

All in all, I propose that the administration should implement a rule regulating the use of the iPad in the classroom. Should such ordinance be implemented by the administration, more students would be engaged in classroom activities. This engagement in learning will most likely result in an increase in overall student test scores, further promoting ARHS as one of the top academic high schools in San Francisco.