Mollie Mytinger and her father James walked out of the SM East gymnasium Tuesday with a pair of smiles and a bit of advanced technology.
Mytinger was one of the hundred of SM East juniors to check out computers as part of the first-ever Shawnee Mission MacBook deployment. By the time freshman finish checking out their laptops tonight, the school will have distributed approximately 1,600 computers to every one of its students.
“It’s so light…” Mollie said, looking at the aluminum-clad computer.
“And breakable,” joked her father.
Breakability — and insurance coverage — were just two of the many topics SM East principal John McKinney addressed in his presentation to students before they queued up to check out their computers. McKinney stressed the need for students to use the computers responsibly, to exercise good “digital citizenship,” and to come ready to use the computers each and every day.
“If you’re not excited about your students having MacBooks in the classroom, then something’s wrong, because this is opening up a million possibilities,” McKinney said. “As a teacher, this is a very exciting time.”
Collaborations with other classes or experts in other parts of Kansas City — or across the globe — will now be fairly simply to execute, McKinney said.
“But students will be the driving force behind a lot of that,” he said. “We’ve got 1,600 kids in this building who are far more comfortable with technology than we will ever be. We would be remiss if we didn’t allow them to offer suggestions and brainstorm and give us new ways of doing things.”
For Mytinger’s part, she’s already got a few ideas about how the MacBooks will improve collaboration among some of her classmates.
“I’m in repertory theater, and we put on our own shows,” she said. “Now instead of paper scripts, we can all just use Google Docs and use digital scripts, and show people the designs of our stage and all that other stuff.”