On Aug. 21, I received my new iPad for La Salle High School, where I am a sophomore.
In September 2011, another La Sallian school bought iPads for its students. The idea was introduced to us in January, when the other school discussed the improvement of having iPads with members of the staff at La Salle. The idea was to help students who struggled with school improve with the interactive, engaging way that iBooks work, and to also improve students who were doing well in school to do even better.
Two very generous, anonymous donors bought every student and teacher an iPad, and every student pays a small insurance fee in case it breaks.
My iPad came in a white, clean box. My heart filled with excitement. Summer was ending, and I was facing honors classes and waking up at 6:30 every morning.
But my iPad was the saving grace of it all.
This year would be different. I would be experiencing a revolution in education. Being a student at La Salle High School, the first school in the Valley to ditch books, paper and pencils for iPads, was going to be pretty great.
Aug. 24 was my first day of school. Everyone knew this year would be very different. We all knew how to work the iPad, but somehow when it came time to use it for school, many students, including myself, had issues. Some people hated typing; others couldn’t get their apps to load fast enough. There was confusion for some. A few students longed for their books and binders back.
Despite all of the problems of the first day, I still loved my iPad. I felt like I was part of something new and very engaging. I felt completely organized, with electronic files and notes that all have their own place. I was never one to be neat, but with the iPad I was.
After about three weeks of school, I got the hang of using the iPad. I discovered new techniques and new tools. I learned easier ways to access my applications. I was able to access Siri, an electronic assistant. I was still totally enamored by the iPad; I completely adored it.
But, there were some troubles that I faced. Doing worksheets became more time consuming because I can’t just write out an answer on a line provided. Also, the temptation to go on Twitter during school was very strong. However, I still loved it. For the most part everything was simpler.
After seven weeks of school, I have faced three glitches with turning in homework electronically, one problem with creating a project, and one day where my iPad’s battery died (but thankfully it was my last period with 10 minutes remaining). Through all of my problems, and through seven weeks of school, I still love my iPad. I have never felt so productive.
My notes have never been so good, because it is faster to type them and there is a file for every one that I take. I have the best, most productive apps on my iPad, such as Notability and Khan Academy. I have eBackpack, where I turn in assignments electronically at the press of a button. I can check my grades by one simple press on my home screen. I can record video and audio of my classes, or, if I miss school, I can get a recording from someone else.
I feel like I am keeping pace with everything happening in this busy year. My test scores are higher than normal. My back is no longer sore from carrying 30 pounds of books around.
This school year has so far been great, and the iPad is a huge factor in that.
• Olivia Moorer is a sophomore at La Salle High School and a member of Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed journalism program for high school students.