The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Going digital

Exploring opinions on the switch from physical to digital IDs
Daphne Huang
Junior Eric Zhou scans his ID using Minga at the lunch line.

MVHS is implementing a digital ID card system through the app “Minga” for students in the 2023-24 school year. According to Principal Ben Clausnitzer, MVHS is one of two schools in the FUHSD district, along with Fremont High School, that has implemented Minga this year as a test trial for usage of the app.

“Minga, in the world of education and the schools in the U.S., is a very hot item right now,” Clausnitzer said. “Companies say we can give you this app maybe free for a year. They say ‘You want to try it out?’ [because] it’s [a] hot topic in the United States.”

Senior Mayukha Rajanala downloaded Minga when she discovered the switch to digital ID cards on the day she took her school picture. She used the app once previously to attend prom and believes that there are some benefits of having an ID accessible on her phone.

“I think it’s nice to just open up the app on your phone,” Rajanala said. “Because then it’s just with you all the time — you just have to take it out [of your pocket]. You don’t have to take the physical card out of your backpack.”

However, senior Shiven Bhatt, expresses a different viewpoint, preferring physical IDs instead. Bhatt has been facing difficulties with using Minga, such as having to wait for long periods of time to load the app for his ID, especially at the brunch and lunch lines. 

“It kind of takes a while to load,” Bhatt said. “[I recently found out] that there’s also announcements [on the app], so I can understand why it might take longer, but because of that, I have held up the line while getting lunch. It wasn’t my proudest moment.”

Clausnitzer mentions that students’ issues with buffering can be due to not logging on to school Wi-Fi, meaning that the Minga app would depend on the quality of each student’s cell service. He suggests that students with these issues should take a screenshot of the barcode on their ID card to use for brunch and lunch. However, he adds that screenshots may not work if people use them to check in for school events.

“[For] a student who checks in for a dance, we’re going to want to see the live version,” Clausnitzer said. “The live version has a white wave that floats across the screen, so that way we know if it’s a picture versus if it’s a live app, because a picture can be doctored.”

A gradient flash is an animated wave playing in the background of Minga ID cards as proof that it is from the live app. Graphic by Minga 

Both Bhatt and Rajanala believe that digital IDs could prove to be an issue when taking official exams such as SAT tests. Although testing at MVHS, such as AP tests, would likely be able to accept digital ID cards, Rajanala expresses concern for students who have signed up for testing in other schools that may not have a similar policy. Bhatt, like many other students, plans to use physical ID cards from previous years.

Beyond logistical problems, many seniors including Bhatt and Rajanala, also agree that their ID cards — no matter how terrible their picture is — serve as a keepsake of their years in grade schools.

“A lot of us would prefer to have a physical ID because it’s not just for the usage of it,” Bhatt said. “It also serves as a [memorabilia] after we graduate, and the fact that we don’t have it for our senior year seems a little off-putting.”

Since not every student may have access to a phone or the Minga app, students can go to the office for a physical version of their ID. Currently, the office prints physical IDs on paper, but Clausnitzer says the school is trying to be able to print on hard plastic again. However, physical IDs are currently only available for students who lack access to technology or special circumstances such as testing reasons, and students should not request physical IDs if it is not necessary.

Clausnitzer highlights many other uses for Minga, aside from serving as an ID. For example, the school administrator has posted times of events such as dances or sports games on the app, a feature he says “will develop over time.” MVHS also plans to implement other features that can be useful to students in the future.

“If you have a free sixth period and you have gone through the process of being able to leave campus during that time, we can put that badge at the top of the minga app to show a free sixth period,” Clausnitzer said. “[Also, Student Leadership] is talking about using it for things like presales. You could do something with Minga in terms of presale for dance. I don’t know if they [would] put it up there as a badge [for the] homecoming dance or something, but I know they’ve been thinking about how they could use it for events like that.”

About the Contributors
Daphne Huang
Daphne Huang, Sports Editor
Daphne Huang is currently a senior and a sports editor for El Estoque. When she manages to escape the paws of her attention-seeking husky, she can usually be found playing badminton, managing cat cafes or spending time with family and friends.
Brandon Xu
Brandon Xu, News Editor
Brandon is currently a senior and a news editor for El Estoque. In his free time he enjoys reading, playing video games and occasionally going on runs to get out of the house. He also likes to sketch a little bit, although it seems he can only come up with good ideas to draw when he is bored in math class.
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