By Jennifer Christensen
Recently, the College of Education and Allied Studies at Bridgewater State University has enacted a new program. Propel-BSU is a program that affects all juniors, seniors and graduate students within the college of education and allied studies. According to the university website, each student falling under this category will be billed for an Apple iPad, and they will receive them through the school.
In an email sent to students from Lisa Battaglino, Dean of the College of Education and Allied Studies, she said, “All Juniors, Seniors and Graduate students in CEAS will be charged a one-time fee of $678 that will cover all costs of the Propel-BSU program. This fee will appear in the form of two charges of $339 each.”
According to the university website, the purpose of the Propel-BSU program is to, “Prepare young men and women to function effectively within a society influenced by diversity and accelerated change.”
By utilizing the iPad, students will be able to communicate with others, use iTunes U, and engage in more learning opportunities. Students will also be able to purchase apps for their iPads.
“When I first came on as acting dean I asked faculty what they needed most,” Battaglino said. “Everyone I spoke to said they needed updated technology.”
She also said she visited many public schools and saw what they used for technology.
“For most of the schools I went to, the teachers had them,” Battaglino said. “And in some of the schools, the students had them as well.”
The iPad was specifically sought out for this program because of its long battery life and touch screen ability, according to the university website. If a student already owns an Apple iPad that fits the requirements of the program, the student will not have to pay for an additional one.
Although seen by many as a positive program, some students are unhappy with the fact that it is required for their majors or minors. Some students feel the school is forcing them to buy new technology.
“I’m trying to find educational apps ever since the school forced me to buy it,” Phillip Clougher, a senior affected by the program, said. “I play a lot of games on it. It’s essentially a smart phone without a phone.
“I know they are being used in schools, but I also know of schools using chalkboards. I do not believe this is the way classrooms should be heading.”
Meghan Amaral, participating in the dual licensure program in special education and elementary education, is a sophomore at BSU. Even though Amaral is not required to get the iPad yet, she is looking forward to the day when she has to.
“I have to get the iPad next year,” Amaral said. “I’m excited because I’ve always wanted one and now I have an excuse to get one.”
As for the future of the program, Battaglino said, “We hope this is an ongoing program that has no end. Technology will always change and we hope to change and progress along with it.”
Jennifer Christensen is a Comment news writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.