The Marginal Cost of iPads

Riley Sims, Co-Editor-in-Chief

It’s the beginning of the school year, which means new teachers, new classes and new rules. This year, it also means students are required to pay $25 for their iPads.

According to the district’s website, this fee is used for program costs, like iPad repairs. However, if students break or lose them, they are charged a replacement fee.

While school curriculum is still centered around iPad usage, many students have opted out of getting one due to the cost.

The district should not implement an iPad policy if they can’t support the cost of maintaining them. This fee puts some kids at a disadvantage and gives some students a responsibility they can’t handle.

When the district first rolled out the iPads, they seemed like a good idea for many. They gave the district more technology and advanced the curriculum in classrooms by making lessons more interactive. However, the iPads weren’t financially beneficial for the school. According to the Dallas Morning News, GISD spent $25 million on the first set of iPads. What may have seemed like a wise investment at first, soon turned out to be a burden. When students turned in their iPads in May 2017, the first year using them, many were broken or missing parts. Many of these parts had to be replaced and ended up on the district’s tab, because schools did little to make sure the students were held financially accountable. Students just handed in their iPads and put their chargers in a box. There was no record of which students didn’t have a charger or an Otterbox case. GISD finally realized the flaws in this system by charging students for iPads this year. However, it seems many of the paying students weren’t the ones responsible for the broken iPads in the past, and now they’ll have to pay the price on behalf of other students.

The iPads have also created problems for students who want to do well in school. Since the iPads have been introduced, many classes’ curriculums have changed as well to utilize them. Many classes require students to use apps like Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Classroom. If a student needs to finish an assignment at home, and does not have a device to work on, then they either don’t do it or have to stay after school to work on it. While students are allowed to bring their own devices to school to use, their devices may not have the required programs. The district made them optional this year, but the curriculums have not changed to be iPad-optional.

If anything has been proven with the iPads it’s that they are a big responsibility some students can’t handle. Students responsible enough to maintain their iPads shouldn’t have to pay $25 for one this year. While broken and missing parts are a recurring issue with the students, so is utilizing the iPad. Students often have no problem using the iPad in school where they have Wi-Fi, but for those who don’t have Wi-Fi at home, their iPads will be left unused over weekends and holidays. While the district has set up locations around town where students can access free Wi-Fi, it can be hard for some students to get a ride to these places. The cost of the iPads has far exceeded the benefit of them.

The district needs to get rid of the iPads, because they are too costly and are not used enough amongst the students. If the district wants to incorporate more technology in the classroom, then they need to leave it in the classroom and not let the students take it home.