The iPad: friend or foe? – Serena Brown

RHS; a school with a great history, where every now and then we put on no.1’s and march around what many ignorant visitors describe as an excessively large car park, all in the name of tradition in order ‘to endorse the values of service, loyalty and commitment and uphold the School’s unique and rich heritage.’ So how has a school that embraces its creaky floorboards old draughty windows now embraced so absolutely the technological age?

From the day rooms to Dr Allday in the dining hall, even on the sports pitches; nowadays we just can’t seem to escape that apple logo. Even what was a school paper on …well, paper… has turned into a blog! And I would also be a hypocrite if I said I only use my iPad for educational purposes and never rush back house at break time to watch the rest of Undercover on iPlayer. But in order to do an effective review of our new found technological prowess we must look at both the positives and negatives.

rhs ipad


So on the plus side, I have formulated a list of the blessings of iPad learning:

  • People actually check their emails! Despite the occasional whole school email regarding someone’s lost folder, that, let’s be honest, not even the person who has lost it has looked for it and neither will we, this can be a useful means of finding out when the hallowed gym is closed or even to receive one of Mr Hodson’s Bubble emails.
  • Kahoot : The familiar tune has now become the anthem of iPad learning and signals a great lesson as well as some learning fostering a competitive nature among classmates… Because we all know if you win the Kahoot there’s potential for food and if there’s anything that motivates an RHS student, it is prizes in the form of Maoams and lollies.
  • Screen mirroring: Now I know to be fair this doesn’t always work, it’s the idea that matters and it truly is a brilliant concept. Whensuccessful, I’m sure as many teachers would say the ability to ‘flick’ up any work (or maybe even images that are totally irrelevant to the lesson) can be both great fun and educational.
  • Social media: despite our social media hours being limited the school is embracing it in various ways; many school departments and houses have set up Twitter accounts – one I would like to highly recommend, the music department’s daily blog…or should I say vlog, which are a really good way of showing aspects of the school we may not be as familiar with and like many of my peers it has been an achievement and challenge to get into the Headmaster’s tweet of the day.

Of course also I have to mention that iPads are extremely helpful in the classroom with research and online resources and apps that seem to have automatically downloaded onto our iPads.

But of course it hasn’t been 100% successful…

  • Corridor collisions: On a couple of occasions I have found myself passing around the corner from the pigeon holes to the history corridor and quite magnificently collided with a younger member of the school whose eyes were glued to their tablet . I recognise that this is a blind spot (and would encourage any member of school council to propose a mirror at this junction); however, this could have been narrowly avoided if both members had seen each other coming in time for a dodge. With said junior donning a backpack larger than themselves, therefore giving greater impact force, we naturally found all of our possessions scattered on the floor included our beloved iPads, which were of course reached for immediately to check if they had survived the impact. This has proved costly for some members of our community.
  • Getting used to the tech: In this case I’m talking about the staff; some are better than others, but sometimes watching the teachers trying to figure out how to send a document from pages format to word reminds us of our grandparents and texting but nonetheless one can take this as an opportunity to offer your superior tech skills, swap roles, help the teachers and earn yourself a Bene.
  • ‘ Inappropriate use of iPads’: To only repeat what the all knowledgeable ‘No music when revising’, Ross has already said, it’s hard to focus with your phone or iPad open, and we all know the temptation to text your friend in another class; say you’re watching an educational clip whilst you’re on Netflix or even playing the next level on candy crush, clash of clans, colour switch or whatever one we’re all playing now. The reality is the rules can be found on page 15, line 5 under the heading ‘Deputy headmaster’s detentions that iPad misuse leads to…you guessed it, a dep heads detention and I’m sure if we asked Mr Dixon detentions from misuse of electronics will have only increased 100% since the introduction to iPads in lessons.

Although some of the younger years may never know the joy of defacing your friend’s planner, all in all I think iPads are a good thing. There’s so much information out there now, it just makes it a little more accessible. I think this sort of thing is vital for a school like RHS to keep up to date and ‘down with the kids’, but it’s our responsibility to make sure it’s used to our advantage and that WE make the most of its potential. I’m interested to hear everyone else’s opinions – both staff and pupils – so make the most of the technology and leave a comment!

4 thoughts on “The iPad: friend or foe? – Serena Brown

  • May 26, 2016 at 11:33 am

    A very balanced account Serena…I’d love more student input in to driving the project forward on how we can maximise the upside of iPads and embed them further in to lessons. Would you consider becoming a digital leader within the school?

  • June 7, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Very interesting read! Unfortunately I’m firmly in the ‘grandparent sending a text’ category, (it took me 10 minutes to work out how to leave a reply here), but despite my neo-Luddism, I’m warming to my iPad – without it how would we manage the Music Department Vlog?

Leave a Reply