What’s the best iPad for students? Can they study with an inexpensive iPad? Do we recommend an iPad for high school and college students?
When it comes to your student’s technological needs at home and in the classroom, the iPad is not the smartest choice. While it may sound like an easy option, the iPad lacks many of the key features that make a laptop a more versatile, cost-effective tool.
It may appear that it’s easier for students to use an iPad for their studying, but this is definitely not the case. I will be explaining why you should not buy an iPad for a student. There are some definite problems with using iPads in the classroom.
An iPad is only as good as what you have on it. If you have a lot of apps and books downloaded, then great! You don’t have a problem. However, if you’re like most people who don’t have money to spend on every app and book they’d like, then your iPad could potentially be useless when it comes down to work time. Without having the proper materials to get the job done, how can we expect our students to do well?
Another problem with the iPad is the web access. Although iPads are easy to carry around and they fit pretty much anywhere, they aren’t necessarily great at web browsing. They’re meant more for browsing the app store or iTunes store rather than other websites. It’s hard enough trying to navigate through all the applications, but when one has homework involved (which requires searching through certain websites), it can be extremely difficult to find what one needs due to the fact that search engines on mobile devices aren’t as advanced as those on motebooks.
We love iPads and we know that the iPad is one of the most desired gifts for teenagers (along with other Apple products such as the Apple Watch or an iPhone). This is the happy face of a teenager when they received his iPad to study. But should you really buy it for your children?
Main reasons not to buy an iPad for studying
If you have to gift a teenager an iPad as a device for their free time, go ahead, but we think that, if it’s intended for studying, they’re not the best devices. We are very much in favor of using an iPad for many leisure and creative activities, but if you are in doubt about which is the best iPad for students, our answer is none.
Reason 1. A student iPad is not a substitute for a student notebook
The laptop is the primary device for a student and will remain so throughout their student life. The desktop computer or laptop will be used for writing papers such as essays, term papers (iPad does not come with Word for example), presentations, searching for information on the Internet, studying, etc.
An iPad does not work for everything a student needs: some applications or programs do not work on the iPad as well as documents or files that are not compatible and cannot be opened. Ask the experts to essay for me if you can’t buy a laptop at the moment.
This is very important to know before making the purchase. Because if they have an iPad, they will continue to need a good laptop, such as these ultrabooks, light and ultra-thin mid-high-end laptop models that cost less than the iPad Pro pack (iPad, stylus, and keyboard case).
Possibly if they have a laptop, they will also ask you for a tablet for leisure, but you may be able to negotiate which of the two devices to invest more in, as the laptop we believe is more necessary for studying.
Reason 2. A student iPad is expensive
There is no such thing as a cheap iPad for students. In addition to the iPad, it is almost mandatory to buy the stylus (or you won’t be able to take notes), the case, and quite possibly a keyboard (or the recommended Apple Smart keyboard + case pack).
Reason 3. Leisure and study, are better on different devices
The probability of being distracted by a notification or any social networking app is much higher on an iPad than on a laptop. Even those responsible students who have little facility to jump to videos and social networking messages.
The computer allows you to quickly eliminate distractions and the Internet and concentrate on the task at hand. Having everything on the iPad can be detrimental in terms of academic performance and productivity.
If they have leisure on the tablet or mobile and work mainly on the laptop, it is easier to organize time, create study habits, and, above all, mentally divide when it touches the leisure device (TikTok, YouTube, Netflix…) that they can do it on iPad or mobile when they are studying and learning with the laptop.
Reason 4. Searching for information on an iPad or laptop
Using the laptop to search for information and copy or save the information needed to study, do an essay or notes is much more practical on the computer.
This is not only for students, almost any child, teenager, or adult who must search for information on different pages and classify it, read studies, make diagrams or comparative tables, on an iPad is uncomfortable and you will lose the sources of information.
Reason 5. An iPad is not like writing on paper
Taking notes on a sheet of paper is not the same as taking them on an iPad. So who likes to take notes on paper, this is not replicated 100% on iPad. This is not in favor of a laptop, but FYI.
Writing on an iPad is not the same experience and it is advisable to try the digital pen before buying an iPad for note-taking.
Taking notes on an iPad or laptop
If you’ve been asked to use an iPad to take notes (with an app like Notability or Goodnotes) it’s not as practical for later review and studying as using your laptop to take notes. This is a bit subjective, as some people can’t live without Notability, but they also have limitations and drawbacks.
We believe that in many classes (whether face-to-face or virtual) it is much more efficient and comfortable to follow a session from a laptop. A major drawback is that the weight of carrying a laptop, even if it is an ultrabook model, is somewhat higher than carrying an iPad.
For example, in a virtual classroom you can take notes from an iPad, but on a laptop, it is quick to take screenshots of the teacher’s slides and add them to the document you are taking notes on (e.g. with Notion, one of the most used by students). From the iPad, screenshots are possible but also torture.
Reason 6. An iPad does not work with Pro programs
Don’t get carried away with what other families are doing, think differently or think about what will benefit your child in the future. Music creation, video editing, photo editing, programming, CAD, web design. There are a multitude of tools and apps to use on the iPad, but in the end, most of them are not the industry standard.
This means that when they want to start doing it more seriously in high school, they are going to need a laptop. For example, you can learn programming with an iPad (Swift Playgrounds is amazing). But even Apple’s own curriculum for learning programming considers that from high school onwards they should do it on a Mac with XCode.
Your kids are trying to make you see that they don’t need a laptop (that an iPad is more than enough for studying and their leisure time) and will be great for school. You’re hesitant and have reason to be, especially if you’re thinking about buying the iPad Pro for a student.
As we have explained to you, we find multiple reasons to buy a student laptop before a student iPad. In addition to all of the above reasons, we believe that the software on laptops is generally more productivity-oriented, the keyboard is more durable, the device is generally more intended for academic or professional work (and less for entertainment), and the battery lasts longer.