iPad or Laptop? Making the right choice can make a difference

Technology can be a great thing. But choosing between an iPad and a laptop to enhance your learning can be tricky. We took a closer look to see how each device affects your learning and productivity.

Jack Barnes, Staff Writer

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When you look around the Saint Stephen’s Upper School, you’ll notice that just about every student is carrying around either an iPad or laptop. All Falcons are required to have one of these learning tools in their classes throughout the day. The iPad initiative at Saint Stephen’s started in the 2013-2014 school year. Thus far, the tech enhancements have allowed students to dive into a new interactive learning environment.

Although students have the choice to use either the iPad or laptop, many argue about which device is truly better as a learning tool.

Junior William Bernet likes the iPad better because it is more durable if you drop it; also, it’s less expensive to repair than a laptop. As a bonus, the iPad supports a variety of apps that you can get for your classes.

Junior Cam Vining prefers the laptop more because it has more storage, and it’s easier to create video content on programs such as Adobe Premiere. Also they like that the screen is bigger than the iPad. Although Vining loves his laptop, he sides with the iPad for typing because he thinks it is easier and faster.

William Bernet, 20′ works diligently on his preferred iPad during study hall.

Jack Barnes
Cam Vining, 20′ enjoys his laptop while doing homework in study hall.











Mr. Forrester, Upper School Director, stated that the iPad is to be seen as just another tool: “The iPad doesn’t teach the lesson; the teachers use the iPad, among other tools, to teach high level curriculum in innovative ways.”

Further, in terms of improvement of the initiative, Forrester added: “One way the iPad initiative could be changed is to give the students and teachers more training to use the iPad more effectively and more efficiently.” 

The iPad initiative, which calls on all Saint Stephen’s students to have an iPads, was implemented on July 5th, 2011, when the school received a grant from the Benedict Foundation for 20 iPads. This later inspired teachers to request these tech tools for their classrooms. A year later, on December 11th, 2012, teachers received iPads from the tech department and made an announcement that students would be able to use their own iPads during the 2013-2014 school year.

Students dive into a lesson in Mrs. Gustavus Class on their iPads and laptops.

“The iPad initiative allows faculty and student to be unified in the technology they use for learning.””

— Mr. Forrester


Another side to the argument of which device is superior is the teachers’ views on the effectiveness of these learning tools. Apps and programs help students learn in a more fun and engaging ways, instead of using worksheets and the dreaded packets. Although these devices are used for learning, students often mentally float away and get distracted from lessons by misusing these tools and playing games or shopping.

Mrs. Angelo, a ninth grade biology teacher who uses a laptop, said “For me, using a laptop to display my lesson is the easiest. Although I use a laptop, iPads are easier for students to participate in my lessons. When displaying my lesson, the iPads help the students because the apps I use have interactive features. iPads can also be distracting towards the students in my class because of the of the games they can get and play during class.”

Numerous Saint Stephen’s teachers acknowledge that the iPad is a more portable device, but they like the aspect of typing on a full sized laptop keyboard better. In terms of apps that they use in their classrooms, teachers find that they help students stay more focused than using a paper and pencil in class. The Library Director at Saint Stephen’s, Mrs. Pommer, says she likes the iPad better because the screen is better for reading ebooks.

Mrs. Pommer, the Upper School librarian reads an e-book on her iPad which she likes most.

All in all after, asking the student body which device they prefer, the majority preference tends to land on the iPad for various reasons including the price, the interactiveness, and the app choice. The laptop is liked more by the staff at Saint Stephen’s for obvious reasons, including the storage space, larger screen, and typing.

In my opinion, the laptop is better. I stand by this because I find it easier to type on and the screen is a lot bigger. One thing I find frustrating about the computer is the inability to get apps that are available on the iPad. Most of the apps that teachers use for their lessons are only available on the iPad. This makes it sometimes harder to participate in the lesson we are learning.

Which do you prefer more?

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