HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - By: Kaitlin Kogachi
Mid-Pacific Institute students and teachers are looking forward to a very special school year that is sure to be different than any other. The Manoa-based school is kicking off the school year in a big way by handing out 1,440 iPads.
Today marked the first day of the iPad distribution, which will continue up until the start of school. Middle school students and parents gathered at the auditorium for an informational session regarding step-by-step instructions on how to set up their iPads as well as internet safety and cyber bullying.
The iPad venture cost $1.5 million, funded by tuition and technology fees parents pay annually. Despite the high cost of the new technology, administrative staff hopes the iPads will decrease costs by taking advantage of iBooks, which sell for a fraction of textbooks. The iPad, being much cheaper and lighter, was preferred to a laptop.
With so many iPads on campus, there are concerns about security and safety. Anticipating stolen and misplaced iPads, Mid-Pacific Institute has already installed a plan in place. "The iPad's also identified with a particular student, so at any time, if the student loses that device, we immediately as the school have the ability to shut it down and even track that device," said Dr. Dwayne Priester, the middle school principal.
However, staff and parents alike are confident these problems will be kept to a minimum as long as they constantly remind the students of their responsibilities. "They just have to be extra responsible and extra careful, and we just have to make sure that they know that's something they have to do, just like their schoolbooks and everything," said parent Heather Tanaka.
The teachers and administrative staff have planned to introduce the iPads for two years now. In that time, teachers worked on becoming familiar with the Apple product as well as arranging lesson plans to incorporate it. In the midst of the technological race, Mid-Pacific Institute has high hopes the iPads will help students reach their potential.
"Our students are not content with just a textbook in their hands, but it's really about connectivity for them. So for us, it's just a natural process. It's the next step, putting that technology in their hands, ensuring that they're wired to information, and ensuring that they're able to use that information instructionally," said Dr. Priester.