My name is Greg Kim; I was the ASB president of MIHS for the class of 2012. I heard about the iPads being put into use and I had to say something.
Honestly, when Dr. Gary Plano approached the leadership class when I still attended Mercer Island High School, I did not expect the idea to come into fruition, so I did not extend the discussion much further than an acknowledgement of the proposal. However, today my little brother came back from school with the news that the project had already been enacted. As someone who wants this institution to succeed, I have a few things to say.
The argument has already been made that the iPads are a waste of money. They are. The counterargument I heard while I was in school was that this money had already been allocated to technology as part of the 2010 levy and could not be moved around to pay for teacher salaries, which are arguably more important.
However, as a student who participated in marketing classes and had to pull five computers out of the laptop cart before I could find an operational unit, I can guarantee you that this money could have been more efficiently used even within technological parameters. Last I checked, typing is still important in the world of technology.
Now, let’s also discuss the implications of buying Apple iPads, a decision that is distinct from purchasing, say, Kindles or Samsung Galaxy Tabs, which are much cheaper. This decision must have been based on a limited number of reasons: such as they are better products and worth the extra cost, or that the choice of iPads served some ulterior purpose for the purchaser. iPads are not worth the extra cost; they are purchased for the image they have create.
However, I think the primary reason iPads were chosen is because of their marketability. I think the entire idea of purchasing any sort of tablet device for students is a sort of publicity stunt. If the iPads cannot even be used to replace textbooks, they do not have a purpose legitimizing their cost. I think anyone who wishes to argue the other side of this argument needs to take a course in money management. What the iPads do is paint MIHS as the road-paving beacon of light into the new world dominated by technology. Perhaps, forging this new image could be deemed an accomplishment or a new credential for the party responsible.
This image is one that the Mercer Island School District is expending too many resources to advertise. While students of our generation do indeed use technology more than previous generations, the lack of technology in schools does not yet limit the effectiveness of current teaching. In fact, there are enough holes in the current system that our resources should be used to patch the cracks of our foundation before we begin to attempt to build higher. In a more macro sense, we should not allow our school district to become more corporate than it already is. We do not need iPads to advertise for us. Let our educated students be the marker for a good education system.
ASB President, Class of 2012 Mercer Island High School