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Letter | More on iPads at schools
In the spirit of carrying on constructive discussion with my good friend Greg Kim and other readers, I am writing to provide my reasoning for why the school district made a smart decision in purchasing 1,600 new iPads for students.
In 1983, Steve Jobs spoke at a design conference in which he discusses this idea that when a new medium of technology is introduced, we tend to fall back into old media habits. He notes the television as an example: They basically just broadcasted radio shows with a camera until events like the JFK funeral proved that the medium could evoke a level of intense emotion that couldn’t happen through radio. MIHS is investing in a similar transformation by integrating a new medium — touchscreen computers — into the educational process.
Yes, the computer labs and laptop carts at MIHS are outdated.
However, that system in itself is outdated. Research from Morgan Stanley shows that in 2014, the amount of global touchscreen users will surpass desktop users. Furthermore, typing is still a large part of using touchscreen technology and the additional features they come with enhance the learning experience. Students can express themselves on a much deeper level by combining a variety of learning tools to draw, film, record, write and present their projects. Parents and teachers can see their schoolwork portfolio and progress. With a tablet, it’s all in one convenient location and many of the apps used have no counterpart on a computer. MIHS students are embracing a new medium that delivers new media with an expanded set of unique tools.
Greg also went on to say that the iPads were primarily purchased because of their marketability. The choice of the iPad specifically is a smart one because there are over 20,000 educational apps in the app store with 1.5 million iPads used in schools currently. Android carries around 1,000 educational apps. Apple also has contracts with multiple publishing houses to digitize new, more comprehensive textbooks that MIHS should adopt in the near future.
The Mercer Island School District has some of the best teachers in the country, and I am positive that the school will continue to uphold that image indefinitely. Educational technology still does not have the power to outweigh human intellect, and most young parents will still largely consider teacher quality over technology when choosing a school. I agree with Greg that our educated students should be the marker for a good education system. However, part of being a well-educated student these days is to have an understanding of technology, so the incorporation of iPads will help MIHS students stay ahead of the game with the latest technology.
MIHS Class of 2012
ASB Vice President