KS Maui transitions to Macs


Photo by Maile Sur

Senior Brandy Takiguchi waits patiently as she creates her Apple ID for her new Mac laptop. All students received brand new devices through the schoolwide PC to Mac switch this year. Today, August 4, 2014, was the first day of school at KS Maui for the 2014-15 school year.

The KS Maui campus went back to school for the 2014-2015 school year today. After all of the morning announcements, students reported to class meetings and briefings on one the biggest change: Macs.

For nine years, the KS Maui campus has been mostly an all PC campus, with the exception of Apple products being utilized in some of the arts classes, like Digital Video Production and Music Technology.

However, the sister campuses, Kapālama and Kea’au, had transitioned to Macs a few years ago. The Kapālama campus, in fact, has been an all-Mac campus since the beginning of their one-to-one computer program.

When serious discussions about the possibility of switching began two years ago, high school teachers attended presentations by both Dell and Apple representatives.

Along with the fact that the rest of the students in the Kamehameha Schools system are already on the Apple platform, Ms. Kelly Cua, the High School Instructional Technology Specialist, said that a major reason for the change was “preference.”

After the presentations, the majority of teachers said they preferred Apple over Dell, setting in motion the switch.

“One of the main reasons why it’s a good thing [we switched to Macs] is with the switch to Macs we were able to get additional funding for training professional development for the teachers.” Ms. Cua said. “It’s a good opportunity for the teachers to not only have training provided to them but also move forward with more 21st Century integration into their classrooms.”

Though it may be difficult for students to adapt to a new system, Ms. Cua said that there are many benefits to the new system and that “Macs are more geared towards education.”

Along with the difficulty of adapting to a new system, students were also troubled by many of the new rules and features that come with the new Macs.

This year each student was given a hard cover case as well as a carrying case to protect their laptops. Unlike in past years, students will not be allowed to buy their own cases or covers, and the cases that are provided must be used at all times to prevent damage.

“If [students] are responsible in using [the laptops] then we’re not going to have problems,” Mr. Delatori said. “If [students] make bad choices, then [they] get consequences from it.”

Another drastic change is that chargers are no longer allowed on campus. The reason behind this was that in previous years, many chargers were lost or stolen, so leaving chargers at home should reduce the amount of those problems. The laptops have extended life batteries that should last a student all day without having to recharge, provided that they bring it to school fully charged in the morning.

One of the new features that surprised many students was that with the Apple ID’s and the Macs, teachers are allowed to view any individualʻs computer at any time. Through this program, called LanSchool, teachers and staff can conduct random laptop checks throughout the year that will monitor the websites students are looking at, the apps they are downloading, and whether or not the student is using the computer for strictly educational purposes.

But LanSchool is not just for looking for contraband. Teachers will also be able to use their own laptops to cut into a studentʻs laptop and demonstrate how to do things, such as edit a photo, solve a problem, or use a program.

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Though there are many new changes this year, students are excited about the new Macs and the new year.

“[The Macs] are nicer and brand-new, and the cases are probably the best part,” junior Quinn Williams said.

As for damages or technical difficulties, students are still able to visit Ms. Fujiwara in the laptop room.

Aside from the big change to Apple computers, the first day brought other activities as well.

To start off the day, Kahu Kalani Wong led a convocation in which administrators welcomed the student body back, and this yearʻs student body president, Halia Kekuewa, also said a few words.

Midday, a team of students from the Kea’au campus shared some presentations about ethical use of technology and use of technology tools, like Google.

After lunch, the day ended with presentations by four alumni, who urged students to take advantage of the opportunities they have and to exemplify this yearʻs school theme, “E maika’i a pa’ahana.”