Tablets create nightmare for upperclassmen


by Joe Hittinger
Eagle Editorial Board

Take out your tablet. Put it away. Take it out. Put it back. Sound familiar? The only thing worse than having to shove it in and out a dozen times a day is having to carry around and keep track of its purse.

Better technology does not necessarily mean better learning. In fact, people have been learning sans tablets for thousands of years. The only tablets that the Greek and Romans used were of the rock variety. Yet these civilizations produced the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind. If ancient Greece did have tablets, though, Homer would probably have been too distracted by Google Talk to write The Odyssey.

The biggest problem with the new tablet program is that before it can be beneficial, all of the kinks must be worked out. For freshmen who have never experienced a St. Thomas without tablets, this will not be a problem. They will start out using tablets and have four years to perfect this new style of learning.

For upperclassmen, it is an entirely different situation. Seniors have to forget how they have successfully learned for the past three years and are being forced to embrace a new learning style that has not yet proved its worth. This first year with tablets will be full of problems, which is why it is so unfortunate that the seniors feel like guinea pigs in our last year of high school.

Many people enjoy the paperless aspect of the new tablets. However, the best part about trees is that they can be replanted. If planting a few trees every year is the price to pay for using paper in the classroom instead of tablets, then the Environmental Science Club already has us covered. For a school so immersed in tradition, who would have thought that the scholastic tradition of using paper would go out of style?

The alternative to using paper leaves much to be desired. There are two words that make every man of St. Thomas cringe, and they are not “Strake Jesuit.” I’m talking, of course, about Polaris Office. The flaws of Polaris Office are abundant, but none is more apparent than the fact that only one document can be open at a time. This leaves students in the annoying predicament of having to switch back and forth between documents.

Before the dawn of technology, teachers had enough trouble trying to maintain the attention of their students. Now each student has an Internet-enabled computer in front of their faces. This forces teachers to deal with the fact that in a room full of teenagers, there will always be a handful of students who cannot resist the temptation to browse the Internet instead of paying attention to the lecture.

Despite these most apparent flaws in the new tablet program, it is important to keep in mind that the STH has only been exposed to these new pieces of technology for a few weeks. Clearly any large and complicated endeavor such as this will take a year or so to work out the kinks, and the administration has been hard at work trying to make things run as smoothly as possible.