How often are students using their university-designated tech?


A UK student takes notes on an iPad in Jill Day’s History & Philosophy of Physical Education & Sport class on Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at White Hall Classroom Building in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Claire Osterfeld

Nearly every freshman, sophomore and junior at UK has been provided an iPad, but how often are these iPads utilized?

In 2019, the university announced that it was beginning a partnership with Apple Corporation. The same year, UK paid $1.5 million to give up to 5,900 iPads to the incoming freshman class.

Since that year, every incoming UK student has received an iPad, a keyboard and an Apple pencil.

“The iPads will help close the digital divide on campus,” said Eric Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration, via a press release. “Our goal is to provide equal access to technology, and through this initiative, we hope to create myriad opportunities for our students to become more innovative, creative and collaborative.”

The iPads were implemented as part of the university’s Smart Campus Initiative Strategy. According to a university press release, “the initiative is aimed at improving learning, graduation rates and leveling the technological playing field.”

The iPads were also a huge help to students with limited access to technology during the pandemic, a time when all studies were moved online. It allowed each student a way to connect with their courses, peers and instructors.

Some students love their iPad and use it as a tool to help with their studies.

“I use my iPad 3-4 days a week for about an hour each day to take notes in biology. I would not be able to complete all my assignments effectively without my iPad,” junior Candice Dillon said.

Other students like the iPad as well but do not rely upon it to complete their assignments.

“I use my iPad maybe 1-2 times a week. Usually if I have a test that I have to write out something I will use the iPad notes. Other than that I use Hulu and Netflix,” junior Jade Thornbury said.

Certain students choose to use the iPad for help with their notes, but others use it for the bulk of their work.

“I use my iPad almost every day when I go to class in person. I like that it’s much lighter to carry around than my computer is,” sophomore Sophia Stokes said. “To clarify, I’m a media arts and studies major, so the computer I use is heavy and a pain to take with me to class every day.”

Despite receiving the iPad from the university at no extra charge, many students choose to purchase their own computers as well.

“An iPad is easier for moving around campus, but a computer has different features that you cannot access on an iPad. Websites are not built for mobile devices,” sophomore Allison Shockley said.

Certain features available to desktop users, such as the “What If” grades on Canvas, are not available to the iPad users.

Although some students prefer their computer over the provided iPad, most of them seem grateful to have it.

“The iPads are perfect for students, and I don’t believe there is any other technology that could be provided as a replacement,” Dillon said.

Many students today use a multitude of Apple products. This is beneficial to those students, as the iPad is compatible with their phones, headphones, laptops and more.

“The iPad, I think, is the best option there is for something provided by the school,” Stokes said. “In my opinion, the iPads are just as beneficial as a cheaper and lighter laptop would be. If I could choose between the two, I actually prefer an iPad over a non-Apple computer because it works better for me personally in that it’s compatible with all my other Apple products.”

Other students use their iPad daily but still believe there are other things the university could have spent the money on.

“I use my iPad almost every day for homework, note-taking, et cetera. Personally, having the money that an iPad costs would benefit me more than the iPad itself, but I do know many people that really needed the iPad,” freshman Maria Bennett said.

After establishing their partnership with Apple in 2019, UK has since been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for the 2021-2024 terms.

According to a university press release, “Apple Distinguished Schools are centers of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. They use Apple technology to inspire creativity, collaboration and critical thinking in learning, teaching and the school environment, and have documented results of academic accomplishment.”

Whether or not all students fully utilize their iPad, the program has definitely helped expand UK’s technological efforts. It is another step toward UK becoming one of the country’s most innovative campuses.