Increased iPad Usage at Glenbard West


When Glenbard West first adopted the iPads four years ago, the school planned on changing education. With easy access to all sort of apps and online features, the iPads help to connect students and allow for everybody to take the classroom with them wherever they decide to go. 

To start, Glenbard West has put all the textbooks online. This was one of the main objectives of for the iPads in the first place, and many have seen how this has been a benefit. A great benefit of the online books is the availability. Dr. Monaghan, Glenbard West’s Principal, is shocked by “how many books and novels you can access free.” He goes on by saying, “You can access education, and information, and literature for free.” Making it easier and cheaper to access school materials may encourage some to pursue it. Senior John Feeley believes the online textbooks are “easy for notes, because you can switch between them [online textbooks and notes].”

Although that may be true for many, it also becomes a literal pain for some. According to the blog FYI Living, reading off of screens is not bad, but the proximity combined with the small font can cause headaches and fatigue. One way to solve this is to make the text in the online books larger. Or simply read from a farther distance.  Science teacher, Mr. Lindberg, said, “Some people just don’t read off of electric screens very well.  Learning comes best from writing.” Despite these potential setbacks, students like John Feeley support the use of the online textbooks. He said how it is nice “not having to drag [textbooks] back to school.”

Glenbard West continued to make changes reducing the amount of paper used. To start this year, many were surprised when Castle Keys were not handed out. Dr. Monaghan acknowledged that this was a difficult decision to make, however, saying, “Making the Castle Keys and planners electronic is consistent with what [Glenbard West] has done” making everything accessible electrically.

The school understood the importance of the Castle Keys to some and ordered 800 at the start of the year.  Many students have acquired a Castle Keys from the bookstore or even have opted to purchase their own paper planners.  Other students have opted for online planners.  Mr. Lindberg believes that online planners “compact resources.  It is a good thing in the long run.”

West ordered 800 Castle Keys this year, which increased at the start of the year after seeing demand. However so far only a little more than 400 Castle Keys have been given away from the bookstore.  The school has not decided what to do about the Castle Keys for next year.  Seeing that only 400 Castle Keys are currently in use, students may be accepting the change to online planners. Some students have found the Reminder App pre-downloaded on the iPads to be helpful.  Senior Aiden Rudolph said, “Why does it matter if I write it down or put it here (Reminder App)?” 

Changes are also occurring within the iPads. The biggest of them is the shift from FirstClass email to Gmail. Some staff members feel that FirstClass limits its users. Having Google to keep documents, Slides, Drive, and email allows for easy transfer of files and assignments, according to John Feeley. The challenges FirstClass gives on mobile devices makes the move seem even smarter. Dr. Monaghan, despite his love for the iPads, shared his frustration with FirstClass and its clunkiness in managing conferences. 

Dr. Monaghan believes, as the reliance on technology is growing in the workforce, Glenbard West is best preparing graduates to succeed with technology experience and the discipline with working on the iPads. The most developed countries are pushing to make the internet more accessible throughout the world, according to The Houston Chronicle. As this push continues, Glenbard West students will be the best suited for this environment. The use of the iPads will continue to evolve over the next few years. With all resources now in one place, and in some cases one browser, administrators are trying to make the iPads as helpful and beneficial to the students as can be.