Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Griffin Technology Advantage
(GTA) program has drawn positive and negative attention since its inception.
The iPad program has received mixed reviews from both students and professors.
Professors and students give mixed reviews
Seton Hill University’s (SHU) Griffin Technology Advantage (GTA) program has drawn positive and negative attention since its inception. The iPad program has received mixed reviews from both students and professors.
The GTA program attracted many incoming freshmen to SHU. Though many students like the iPads, they raise questions about practicality. “I really like the iPad, I just don’t see the necessity of it. I love technology, so I’m definitely not complaining, but I don’t use it much for school work,” freshman Laura Homison said.
The iPad has received high praise since it came to the market in April. After 80 days, over 3 million iPads were sold in the U.S. Many U.S. colleges began to adopt the iPad slowly in various trials that only included certain classes. SHU made headline news when they decided to award each incoming freshman an iPad.
SHU supplied each student with a new iPad to “foster creative literacy” and to learn “the technological skills they’ll need in the twenty-first century workforce,” according to the GTA website.
Emily Wierszewski, assistant professor of English, incorporated the iPad into all of the classes she teaches at SHU. “[iPads] allow for greater classroom interaction and sharing,” she said.
The size and portability of the iPad allows any classroom to become a computer lab. “I think they also allow for more flexibility for students, who often don’t want to lug a heavy laptop to class,” said Wierszewski. “In every class I teach, I can be sure my students always show up with one or the other so I can plan lessons and activities that involve the web or other technologies,” she said.
The ability to buy and use textbooks, browse the internet and make use of educational applications portably are all benefits of iPads. However, many students have experienced Wi-Fi issues across campus. Most textbooks for the iPad also lack tools for highlighting and annotating text.
Wierszewski has run into a few problems with the iPads as well. “The downside is that there aren’t too many good free apps for educational use available just yet, and although I find cool ‘pay’ apps every now and then, I can’t require students to buy them in the middle of the semester,” she said.
Freshman Evan Althouse said, “I would much rather have a textbook, and I do not use it very often for classes. I probably would not buy one if it was not for this program.” Many students share the same opinion of the iPad. “The thing I like about the program is that it gives me something that I wouldn’t normally buy, for free,” said Sean Smith. Students view the iPad as a fun gadget, but not necessarily a tool that would be worth the $500 price tag they would have to pay if the program didn’t exist.