By Greg Dudek
It’s my great pleasure to tell students in Bridgewater State University’s College of Education and Allied Studies (CEAS) how much they are being screwed over.
On June 25, Lisa Battaglino, the Dean of CEAS, sent an email to Bridgewater State students whose major or minor fell within this college, informing them of a new program called Propel-BSU.
The Propel-BSU program requires students in this academic college to get an Apple iPad through the university for $678. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have that kind of money lying around to buy an iPad that I may never use.
And you might never use it in a classroom either, since CEAS professors are not forced to use them.
“Nope, not required,” said Battaglino on whether or not CEAS professors are required to use the iPad in their classrooms. “It’s the same way that I do not advise and cannot force professors to use a certain textbook or cover certain material. All I can do is make recommendations. My job is to reflect what the faculty wants.”
In her email in late June, Battaglino suggests many benefits the iPad can bring to students, but all I see are downfalls.
While this new piece of technology will be nice for students to hold in their hands, it is just not necessary.
Battalingo claims that one benefit of this program is the ability to have a standardized communication platform for all students, faculty and staff. But, Bridgewater State already has that. For a school that requires students to have a laptop and gives them their own email account, there is no need for the iPad.
A student’s laptop can do mostly everything an iPad can, so why the need for another piece of technology that will just be used for going on the Internet or playing Candy Crush while the professor lectures about a boring subject that no one cares about?
In the future, Battaglino said she thinks that academic colleges should have their own specific device required instead of a whole university wide device.
“Having people have two pieces of technology may not be essential in the future,” Battaglino said.
For now, students will have to waste money on an iPad, when they have a perfectly capable laptop that will fill all the requirements of academic life just fine.
As of now, approximately 1,600 students have the iPad through this program. And even though the iPad is more technologically advanced, some college professors use technology sparingly, or they just have enough knowledge to turn the projector on and throw a PowerPoint up on the screen.
I’m sure some students will get benefits from using their iPad, but for most, it will just become another distraction in the classroom.
It’s the same thing with laptops. When students bring their laptops to class to take notes, I can almost guarantee that the student probably isn’t just taking notes. They are roaming the web, seeing what pictures their friends put up on Facebook from the previous night’s party or checking to see what the newest trend is on Twitter.
But who knows, maybe in this technological world, having an iPad in the classroom will be a great success. But if they are letting students use iPads now to give them a technological advantage, why don’t we let students use their smartphones in class too? It seems just as fair and even Battaglino agrees.
“Absolutely, I think the iPhone can be used in the professional world as well,” Battaglino said. “I think the iPhone is a great device as well and people should use them.”
My smartphone can do some of the same things an iPad can, and I didn’t have to shell out all that money for it.
So, when your iPad is just sitting at home on your desk collecting dust while you are in the classroom listening to a lecture, remember that the Propel-BSU program made it possible.
Greg Dudek is The Comment’s Editor-In-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at gdudek10 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.