The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

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A Reflection on MIHS’ New Lenovo Laptops

A Reflection on MIHS New Lenovo Laptops
Kai Bergman

Beginning this year, MIHS switched from iPads to Lenovo laptops. Despite the larger screen, the lack of battery life and easily breakable styluses make them inferior to the iPads.

An iPad replacement study was launched before the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, and continued throughout the lockdown and into 2023, highlighting the need for a full-sized keyboard, stylus and larger screen.

The laptops were selected to bridge the gap between students without personal devices and students with them.

“I do think one of the big challenges that we had with the iPad was just an overall equity issue,” MISD Director of Information Technology Andreeves Ronser said. “We’ve supported a bring-your-own-device program. You [would] go into classes with juniors or seniors and you’d see a mix of personal devices and iPads. If a student was using the iPad, there would be a variety of [features] that were missing.” 

Bridging the gap between students with and without personal devices is not the only advantage to the laptops.

“One thing that we know is there is the ability to keep [work] entirely digital,” Ronser said.

Laptops allow students to carry less paper around, which not only prevents students from losing work but also allows them to carry around less weight on a daily basis. However, this benefit can only be capitalized on if teachers transition their work online.

The introduction of the laptops has not been without its challenges; when they were distributed, the laptops updated seemingly randomly and without any ability to stop the updates.

There has also been the issue of battery life. On a high-usage day, students have reported that the laptops need to be plugged in before the end of the school day. According to Lenovo, the battery is rated for “up to 12.4 hours of use.” In practice, the battery life is much less, lasting closer to four or five hours, creating unnecessary distractions in class. I have witnessed multiple instances in which teachers stop class to ask if anyone had a charger. To mitigate these issues with the laptops, students can bring a charger to school and charge the laptops when needed, or they can use the charging station in the library to charge their laptop during lunch.

While some people support the laptops, I believe that the negative effects of transitioning to Lenovo laptops outweigh the benefits. That said, they are still a suitable replacement for the iPads and it would not make sense to transition back, at least until the newly purchased devices are no longer usable.

Do You Prefer the Lenovos or iPads?

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    Paelun BFeb 13, 2024 at 5:32 pm

    I have never understood why we switched to laptops. While I don’t think they’re terrible, it’s always felt like they just decided to waste a bunch of money to make our devices slightly worse. If the laptops were 100% free, then I really don’t think the switch would be a big deal, but the fact that there is still argument over whether the laptops are actually worse than the iPads seems to indicate that the time and money spent on the switch could probably have been used more effectively.

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