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  (Source: iPads House)
Brings whole new meaning to the phrase "early adopters"

How young is too young to begin embracing personal computing technology? Are gadgets like smartphones and tablets valid educational tools? Are they worth the cost?

Those questions speak to the heart of a USA Today article, which reports that almost 300 kindergarten students in Auburn, Maine, will be receiving Apple iPad2's next fall along with their chocolate milk and crayons. 

"It’s definitely an adventure, and it’ll be a journey of learning for teachers and students," Auburn kindergarten teacher Amy Heimerl told USA Today.

But not everyone is thrilled about the proposition of spending $200,000 -- the cost Superintendent Tom Morrill plans to incur -- on the high-tech gadgets. "I understand you have to keep up with technology, but I think a 5-year old is a little too young to understand," Auburn mother Sue Millard says in the report.

The superintendent disagreed. "It’s a revolution in education," Morrill said, citing the iPad's hundreds of educational applications and simple-to-use touchscreen. 

Maine has been ahead of the curve when it comes to personal technology in the classroom. It was the first state to distribute laptops (Apple iMacs) to all seventh and eighth graders nearly 10 years ago. The former Maine governor who launched that initiative, Angus King, believes in the iPad program. "If your students are engaged, you can teach them anything," King says in the report. "If they’re bored and looking out the window, you can be Socrates and you’re not going to teach them anything. These devices are engaging."

But Maine is not the first state to give its tots tablets, either. "Schools in Omaha, Neb.; Columbiana, Ohio; Huntington, W. Va.; Paducah, Ky.; Charleston, S.C.; and Scottsdale, Ariz., are among the places where kindergarten pupils are using them," USA Today reports.

"We can’t say whether what the school district in Maine or anywhere else is doing is good or not good," Peter Pizzolongo of the National Association for the Education of Young Children told USA Today, "but what we can say is when the iPad or any other technological tool is used appropriately, then it’s a good thing for children’s learning."

Superintendent Morrill said that most of the criticism of the iPad plan has been of the plan's cost, not about the age-appropriateness. He plans to raise the money "from foundations, the federal government, the local school department, and other sources."

If nothing else, the development is one step closer to Bill Gates' vision of education in the future.



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meh
By Homerboy on 4/14/2011 10:25:17 AM , Rating: 2
My daughter has been using a computer since she's been about 3.5 (now almost 8 and in 2nd grade). She is LIGHT YEARS ahead of other kids (even her own brother who is 10 and sometimes even her mother) when it comes to proficiency in using a computer; whether it be for playing/finding games online, doing school work online, researching interests online etc etc.

It helps too that they have had laptops in her school (each kid) since 1st grade too. Tablets in kindergarten isn't that big of a stretch. I think it makes perfect sense to introduce technology to kids as early as possible nowadays. They will be immersed in it for the rest of their lives.




RE: meh
By kleinma on 4/14/2011 10:33:05 AM , Rating: 5
Too bad the iPad doesn't really teach you anything about technology other than how to overspend on it. Lets give our 6 year olds computer tablets so they can be disengaged from society from the very start.... good idea...


RE: meh
By linuxgtwindos3gtmucs on 4/14/2011 10:45:41 AM , Rating: 1
better learn to love it...
your tax money will be paying for it.


RE: meh
By MrBlastman on 4/14/2011 1:38:39 PM , Rating: 1
Speak for yourself. For every nutjob I see in office (that's in my district), I gladly step up to the polls and vote them right out.

At the very least, I attempt to do something about it, rather than bending over, lubing up and saying--"here, come get me!"... while shaking my tuckuss back and forth.


RE: meh
By Tony Swash on 4/14/2011 2:11:33 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
Too bad the iPad doesn't really teach you anything about technology other than how to overspend on it. Lets give our 6 year olds computer tablets so they can be disengaged from society from the very start.... good idea..


A perfect encapsulation of the dated techie perspective that the arcane, the complex and the difficult are features not bugs.

People don't want, or need to 'learn about technology'.

People only have to learn special, and in any sense challenging, skills to use technology because the technology is primitive and/or poorly designed. When the technology is advanced enough or good enough then it just gets out of the way and what people do is just stuff. Stuff like reading, painting, creating music, exploring culture, communicating, photography, editing movies, etc, etc.

That is why the current new period of technology we are entering is so exciting. The technology is now good enough to get out of the way and just let people get on with things.

People will look back at the period we are leaving and laugh at the idea that anyone should have to go on a special courses to learn about using a computer just as we would laugh if someone went on a special course about using an electric kettle.

It's also why Apple is now the largest and the most successful tech company in the world, because Apple have always strived to build technology that get's out of people's way. Sometimes they failed at doing that, sometimes Apple wandered way from that focus and a lot of time the underlying limits of the technology available stopped them, and anyone, from attaining that goal. But Apple was founded on the principal of technology getting out of the way and when Steve Jobs returned Apple aggressively re-embraced that commitment.

Of course technology that gets out of the way, that effectively just becomes invisible is very troubling to some on the the geekier end of the spectrum; hence the compete failure to predict or understand the attraction and success of the iPad or revolution that it has started.


RE: meh
By augiem on 4/14/2011 2:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
You have some valid points, but if everyone is just going to USE technology and not be involved or understand it, the future of the advance of technology is questionable. All this wonderful technology we have came directly from those you chide for having a "dated techie perspective." People DO NEED to learn about technology if we're to continue on this path of advancement.

I guess it's up to India, Russia, and China to support the west so everyone can be free to pursue worthwhile careers like becoming the next popstar. Seriously, we don't have to outsource our brains so completely.

The more complex a task you want to do, the more complex control you will need. Flying an airplane, running a dock crane, doing microscopic surgery, none of these things are intuitive tasks. Apple allows the average user to do the things the average user wants to do. Then when they decide to release a new OS or gadget, their users are suddenly allowed to do a few more things they now want to do which they never knew they wanted to do before.

Apple is not leading us into some kind of nirvana future of a dome city, floating cars, and tall Swedish women in white jumpsuits.


RE: meh
By Tony Swash on 4/14/2011 5:32:45 PM , Rating: 2
It appears you are responding to a point I didn't make. Of course those who are developing, inventing, perfecting complex computer device technology need to understand how complex technology works.

That much is obvious.

But what proportion of the population, of those who use computing devices, does that account for? A few percentage points if you really stretch it. Less probably.

Meanwhile 98% plus of people want to use complex computing devices to do other things, to be creative, to gossip, to find information, to have fun, to meet people, whatever. None of those people need to understand anything much about the underlying technologies they use and the more they have to do so the less well designed any given technology is.

It's like telephones. The vast majority of people want to use telephones to talk to other people. A tiny minority are so interested by telephones that they want to use telephones to have conversations about telephones (techies, geeks), and an even tinier (minute) number of people actually know how telephones work in detail.

I think the most empowering technologies a child can have access to are those that get out of the way and just let a kid explore and create in a way that is exciting and unlimited.


RE: meh
By Alexstarfire on 4/14/2011 7:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
And I don't believe that (Your last point). Considering how easily kids can pick up things I don't think they should be getting things that are too easy. I'm not saying it needs to be super complicated, but saying that a normal/regular/old fashioned/etc. computer is too complicated is quite false. Kids have proven that time and again.


RE: meh
By themaster08 on 4/15/2011 3:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think the most empowering technologies a child can have access to are those that get out of the way and just let a kid explore and create in a way that is exciting and unlimited.
Learning stimulates the mind. Whether that's learning about something a person is interested in, or something as tedious as mathematics.

Learning in general allows those children to be more creative with expanded mental capacity. Nobody is saying that people should learn every minute detail about how technology works, but nowadays it seems people only want to consume and neither educate themselves about what it is they're actually using, or contribute to anything related to it. How are the next generation supposed to value technology and possibly contribute to it if they are not taught how to?

From your logic, almost everything could be fit into that category of "it's too complicated for the average user, it needs to be simplified to meet the constant consuming habits of the average person". How is any supposed to learn?


RE: meh
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/14/2011 7:37:18 PM , Rating: 2
So would you never have been interested in technology if you had a touch-screen device? People who look at things and think 'Damn, that's really cool! How does it work?' are the ones who learned and drove innovation in the past and will be the ones doing it in the future.

The fact that tablets provide* a simplified interaction for people to use a computer, including children, and make it easier to get past the interface to actually allow them to maybe learn instead of figuring out what's wrong with some driver / etc. I don't think people not having to figure out config.sys means nobody is going to do software / hardware development anymore.

Picture a nice app where they can drag together logic blocks and make things happen, like lego technic but on-screen. Maybe touch-drag connections, or 'rub' over a connection to erase it instead of having to carefully click on it with a mouse and then find a delete button / key / menu item - OK, now they can build something, have to think about it, and maybe even learn something. The tech. should get out of the way. It's actually really cool if applied well in a lot of ways, and I'm sure there's going to be a lot more interesting stuff showing up in the coming years since it's really just getting started.

I do totally agree that people should do more than just USE technology, but it's really only a subset that are interested (or maybe competent) to actually innovate / drive it forward. I suspect DailyTech is going to have a higher percentage of those than ESPN. The slack-jawed, well... they're already out there, and they aren't going away, but enabling more interactive education software on a device that has fewer configuration issues isn't what's going to screw up the world. :)

* Now, not really going to bother counting the older Windows tablets since they gave the same complicated interface with a pointy stick instead of a mouse...


RE: meh
By augiem on 4/14/2011 2:40:09 PM , Rating: 2
Hoh that last paragraph brought visions of the "Down Below", "The Lower City", the slums beneath Midgar, "Beneath the Surface" episode (Stargat SG1), etc. I guess that's our future. Better learn to love gruel.


RE: meh
By maven81 on 4/15/2011 10:18:30 AM , Rating: 2
"People don't want, or need to 'learn about technology'."

Not everyone wants to live in apple's utopia of mediocrity. They are doing this not just with technology but also music, film making, photography, design, etc.
Look at what they are essentially saying... No need to learn how to play an instrument! With garage band any idiot can pretend to be a musician! We'll even teach you how to play a couple of songs so you can impress your friends. And who needs to waste time learning about editing? With imovie you too can insert "professional" transitions into your home movies. And we'll even provide you with a million templates so that you can put out a polished result and pretend you did something creative.

What ever happened to doing things not because they are easy but because they are hard? For striving to achieve something great, not be like everybody else?

I'm told that in the old USSR there was this joke: One professional musician says to another "you know, under communism, everyone will be able to write a song!" and the other replies "Sure, but would anyone want to listen to it?"


RE: meh
By Tony Swash on 4/15/2011 1:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not everyone wants to live in apple's utopia of mediocrity. They are doing this not just with technology but also music, film making, photography, design, etc.
Look at what they are essentially saying... No need to learn how to play an instrument! With garage band any idiot can pretend to be a musician! We'll even teach you how to play a couple of songs so you can impress your friends. And who needs to waste time learning about editing? With imovie you too can insert "professional" transitions into your home movies. And we'll even provide you with a million templates so that you can put out a polished result and pretend you did something creative.

What ever happened to doing things not because they are easy but because they are hard? For striving to achieve something great, not be like everybody else?

I'm told that in the old USSR there was this joke: One professional musician says to another "you know, under communism, everyone will be able to write a song!" and the other replies "Sure, but would anyone want to listen to it?"


I don't think anyone is suggesting that effort and commitment should be removed from learning but effort and commitment is not the same as forcing people to learn using inadequate, poorly designed or just plain old fashioned tools. Nobody says 'using a word processor makes kids lazy they should be forced to use a typewriter'.

The fact of the matter is that unless one is studying information technology itself nobody should have to devote a second of thought to using information technology in order to do something useful. The only reason that has been necessary in the past was because the old technology (i.e PCs) were primitive and required people to worry about all sorts of stuff that they don't have to when the technology evolves (like where files are kept).

People don't have to know how a pen works or is manufactured in order to write something interesting. Pens were once new technology and required a bit of understanding and maintenance - now they don't. That's progress.

This videos captures some of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pyjRj3UMRM


RE: meh
By themaster08 on 4/17/2011 4:40:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The fact of the matter is that unless one is studying information technology itself nobody should have to devote a second of thought to using information technology in order to do something useful.
How is one supposed to gain an interest in a subject they are not exposed to?

Computers have become necessities in many peoples' work and personal lives. No matter how simplified they are or become, there will always be difficulties and dangers.

Namely from the internet. That is where most computing issues occur. The internet will always be a dangerous place.

Malware creators, hackers will always find a way to dupe those that are ill informed. They will adapt to the computing climate and find new ways of making using a computer on the internet a dangerous prospect.

Common sense plays a huge part in safe internet usage and good practice. Of course one should not be forced to learn a subject they have little interest in, but that same subject will more than likely be a significant part of their lives, whether that's social networking, online shopping, business communications, and therefore could save a person many troubles along the way.

Comparing a complicated mathematical machine to something as simple as a pen is a poor comparison. Cars have become simplified to use over the years, however you must have a driving license to drive, thus learned how to. You may not have wanted to learn, however it is for the safety of others and yourself that you are required to do so. You are not required to learn any mechanical or technical details about how the car works internally, but you know how to use the machine properly and safely. How is that any different than being educated about how to use a computer, and the internet so that you are knowledgeable and safe?


RE: meh
By michael2k on 4/15/2011 5:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
Your scorn is misplaced. As the parent of a 4 year old and 2 year old, the iPad is wonderful.

My kids could operate the touchscreen at 12m; swipe, poke, etc. They couldn't use the trackpad until 18m, the keyboard at 2y, or the mouse until 3y.

The limitation? Learning the alphabet and the motor skills necessary to manipulate a pointer.

Giving iPads to kindergarteners is late, not early. Being able to trace letters and numbers, do math games, word games, blocks, etc, at the age of 15m is astounding! These babies aren't able to physically manipulate their physical world yet, my daughter hadn't even master talking yet, but she could learn the letters and words and sign language because the tablet was easily more accessible.


RE: meh
By FITCamaro on 4/14/2011 10:56:52 AM , Rating: 5
I'd rather them spend the money making sure kids are learning to read, write, add, subtract, divide, and multiply. Since those basic skills seem to escape many school children.

Granted that has to do more with parenting. No amount of money or technology will make for a parent who doesn't make their kid do their homework or study. Of course these days I hear about schools not even giving god damn homework!


RE: meh
By Homerboy on 4/14/2011 11:15:30 AM , Rating: 2
But they do learn to read/write/math/etc.

They aren't going and playing barbie.com on the laptop/ipads. The sites they are assigned/allowed to use are VERY educational and in-depth. I know it sounds like fluff, and I never really believed it myself until I saw the benefits in my own kids.


RE: meh
By mcnabney on 4/14/2011 11:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
You make a valid point. An iPad is a media consumption device, and a pretty good one at that. As long as the only media/content being consumed on the device is educational it is fine. However, if there are time wasters on there, expect those to be application of choice. Sorry, but three hours of Angry Birds isn't going to help Jr with his math and spelling.


RE: meh
By ImEmmittSmith on 4/14/2011 12:09:02 PM , Rating: 2
It all comes down to the school districts technology plan when they roll out the iPads. My wife's school district in Texas just rolled out the iPads with educational games and programs at her elementary school. It has been well received and the kids enjoy learning on them. Prior to that, they had early 1990's PCs and Macs, which had 5.25 floopy disks(PCs) and 3.5 diskettes(Macs) with very old programs. If schools kept up more with technology our kids would have a better chance of learning something new.
I will leave it at that!


RE: meh
By quiksilvr on 4/14/2011 12:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, but not with iPads. Just build a desktop for $200 for the kids that they can use at school. Saves hundreds of bucks and you get tons of more functionality (and easy upgrade as technology changes).

There is no reason to spend this much for so few students on a limited platform.


RE: meh
By Solandri on 4/14/2011 1:47:57 PM , Rating: 2
I actually think there is something to this. I had a pen-based tablet computer back before the iPhone came out with its fancy touch interface. I installed a crayon physics simulator on it just for fun.
http://www.algodoo.com/wiki/Phun

I let kids play with it a few times, and invariably they would try to grab the objects on the screen with their fingers. It was a chore to get them to use the pen, and even after showing them they had to use the pen they would still try using their fingers.

The mouse and pen are fine for precision work on the computer, stuff that adults do. But on computers for kids I think touch screens are the way to go. I don't know if iPads are long-term the best choice for kids (like you I'm very concerned about the closed computing environment they represent), but there's no denying that it's the reigning king of its market niche right now.


RE: meh
By michael2k on 4/15/2011 6:04:14 AM , Rating: 2
We're talking about 5 year olds here. You really expect a 5 year old learning how to read, write, add, subtract, and be 5 to know how to use a computer?

I'll give you a hint; they won't know how unless exposed to it before the age of 5. Why waste time teaching a 5 year old how to use a computer, in the first place, when they should be reading, writing, etc?

The flip side is that the iPad shortcuts all that. From experience, my kids were using my iPad at the age of 12 months; that's when they could swipe to unlock. By 15 months they were tracing the alphabet and playing letter games (think flashcards and such), and by 2 years they were (poorly, but trying) doing math games.

They couldn't even use a trackpad by 2 because they didn't have the hand-eye coordination to track the mouse pointer since they had to look at their finger to move it. They couldn't use the mouse until 3 because they had to look at their hand to move it. They couldn't use the keyboard until 3 because that's when they started figuring out words and letters.

I fully believe that even so my kids were ahead of the curve because of my iPad; why would they know how to use a trackpad at 2? How could they figure out a mouse at 2? Their physical coordination just didn't exist. Heck, my kids couldn't talk and they could learn the alphabet and sign language and such because of the iPad.

Save your PC centrism for learning to use a mouse, because there isn't anything else you can do on the PC that also isn't available for the iPad. Keyboards, colors, alphabets, animals, sounds, sign language, math, reading, writing, etc are already well represented on iPads, today, and for a quite reasonable pricepoint compared to PC software prices!


RE: meh
By Gzus666 on 4/14/2011 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Of course these days I hear about schools not even giving god damn homework!


Probably for the best. Homework does little to help learning. The old "learn through repetition" method doesn't actually teach you anything but how to do what is in the worksheet. The actual way to learn something is by understanding the concepts, the rest is just applying the concepts, which can be done more abstractly so as not to dig someone into a hole of only knowing how to do what they are shown instead of actually learning. I know someone will try to retort with application vs. concepts, but the reality is if you really understand the concepts, application is fairly easy and any pitfalls you encounter are simple to overcome due to a proper understanding of the concepts.

Basically, unless they are working on a sport or some other menial physical task, repetition doesn't actually teach you anything.

Honestly they need to start teaching logic early on so kids can actually reason things out. I am dumbfounded as to why this is never hit until you get to college as it would make life so much easier (would also make people in general so much easier to deal with, imagine if everyone had a basic understanding of logical axioms).


RE: meh
By FITCamaro on 4/14/2011 2:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. If you never practice what you hear in the classroom, you quickly forget it or never fully retain it.


RE: meh
By Gzus666 on 4/14/2011 3:04:34 PM , Rating: 3
Anything backing this up? Most studies I have seen say homework does the opposite, makes them hate the subject and lose interest in learning. This seems on par with what I have seen throughout my schooling.

Remembering a formula or anything like that is useless to memorize unless you use it everyday anyway, that is why the brain cleans it out after periods of no use. As long as you get the concepts, you can easily pick things right back up. I am sure you, like anyone else in any field, looks things up from time to time cause you can't remember everything. I am sure you don't have to relearn it all, you just have to jog your memory and you are off and running. This is the difference between understanding something and memorizing it.


RE: meh
By kattanna on 4/14/2011 11:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
well part of the problem i have with this is the lack of teacher education with such devices.

it amazes me how in the college i am in i have teachers who have to call support to help them plug in their laptops to the overhead projector. REALLY??

and thats those who even have them, most dont.

so while its great we are trying to give new tools to students for learning, if the teachers dont have a clue as to how to use them or exploit their potential.. we are missing the point and are then only wasting money.

As someone who has worked in the IT field now for decades, its appalling how un technical our schools and teachers really are.

fix that first please.


RE: meh
By HrilL on 4/14/2011 12:29:44 PM , Rating: 2
I completely agree. I've been doing IT stuff since I was in high school. I've had to help teachers all my life. I find it immensely troubling that a professor has no problem wasting 10-20 minutes waiting for support at the start of a class. And they don't even want to learn how to solve such a simple problem. That is in fact not a computer problem but a USER problem.


RE: meh
By snakeInTheGrass on 4/14/2011 8:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the connector progression - we've gone from VHF/UHF adapter on channel 2/3 to composite to proprietary to VGA to DVI to dual-channel DVI to HDMI to Display Port to Mini Display Port to Thunderbolt... wait, which of these outputs on this system that the school handed me do I need to plug in to (thankfully they gave the prof a Dell that still has a serial port...), what Function-Some-Cryptic-Symbol key will actually put a signal ON the cable (there's a key combination that does that!?!?), then how do I select the input on the projectors screwy menu system...

My wife doesn't know how to set the signal path from the appropriate component input on my pre-processor to select the DVD player vs. Wii vs. XBox 360 vs. AppleTV vs. HTPC vs. PS2, switch the projector in the home theater to the correct input, and then figure out why there's no picture (or better yet, no sound) - and she doesn't even have to try connect cables on top of it. Imagine someone else has used the home theater and disconnected an audio cable in back to maybe try something out and forgot to put something back... home-IT-staff to the rescue. ;) Anyway, she doesn't care to figure it out, it's not interesting to her.

So unless the prof is tech-oriented or happens to be interested in the problem, that's why there's an IT person to figure it out - because the setup is still too complicated. Prof plugs the cable in, it still won't show a damned picture... sorry class, where's that friggin' IT guy who won't make this simpler?

Seemingly we're getting to where wireless or at least 1 standard interconnect cable can solve this, but of course it's going to take years for that to roll out, and by then there'll be a new, even better standard cable again. :)

Anyway, get the tech out of the way for most people - the majority just don't care how this all works. The geeks do, and will keep making it cooler.


RE: meh
By augiem on 4/14/2011 2:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
What happens when these kids drop it on the floor, jump up and down on it like a DDR pad, beat each other over the head with it, drop it in the fish tank, (and assuming they can take it from the classroom) give it to a friend, leave it on the bus, etc, etc.

Maybe Toshiba should make a ToughPad the rugrats.


RE: meh
By Boze on 4/14/2011 2:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. And learning games that are fun (keyword there) have been proven time and again to be the most effective way of teaching, that goes for kids to adults.

Everyone enjoys a good game, and if you can learn something while playing it, that's even better.

I would want to see a scientific study to go along with this though, maybe show how far ahead these kids are compared to kids without iPads. It would carry a lot more weight if this school district could show that their kids are operating a year or two ahead of their peers because of this investment.


RE: meh
By EricMartello on 4/14/2011 3:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think it makes perfect sense to introduce technology to kids as early as possible nowadays. They will be immersed in it for the rest of their lives.


That's also a good reason NOT to introduce it as early as possible. Excessive immersion in tech creates a disconnect from basic human-to-human bonds that really should be present early in a child's life.

Using a computer is quite far from understanding how it works or why it works. It means nothing that you and your wife are less adept at using a computer than your progeny...the world has enough users - it's the ones who know how to actually create with the computer and use it as a tool that will matter.

I am fortunate that my experience with computers came at a time when using them required an in-depth knowledge of how they work...because if you didn't you wouldn't be able to keep them working. This was also a time when the internet did not exist as it does today, so finding answers meant figuring it out myself, reading books or talking (in person) with other people.

So, barring a genuine interest in electronics and computers, I'd hold off on saturating my children with "tech noise" until they're closer to teenage years.


I am
By IamJedi on 4/14/2011 11:12:44 AM , Rating: 2
I am a big advocate for the advancement of technology in the classroom, but I simply do not see the justification of spending over 200,000 dollars on 300 kids for brand new iPad 2's. I realize that there are "educational" programs on there, but there are just as many educational programs for Windows as there is for the Mac. You can buy netbooks for about $200-300 dollars a piece per student and widen the pool of how many kids can get access to the Internet, programs, etc.

If we assume that each laptop is roughly around $250 we can then times that number by 300 students and get to a total expenditure of 75,000 dollars. What this means is that we can open the pool of kids that receive laptops at this price range to around 650 students; therefore, allowing more children to be able to have access to the web and tools.

Unless someone can explain to me why 200,000 dollars needs to be expended on just 300 kids, I don't see the justification for the same ability to do everything with a Windows-based, sub-par laptop. Again, I believe in techonolgy, I want technology in the classroom, but I simply, for the life of me, cannot see the justification of the iPad 2.




RE: I am
By Homerboy on 4/14/2011 11:18:26 AM , Rating: 2
This is a good counter-point to my point above.
I applaud the integration of technology, but not $200K on only 300 kids. They could get a MUCH bigger bang for their buck going with laptops or non-Ipads. Not to mention I can't believe Apple isn't giving a cut-throat deal on these things.

Interestingly, $200K divided by 200 is.....


RE: I am
By Schrag4 on 4/14/2011 12:51:01 PM , Rating: 2
If it's just used for Kindergarden-level learning, they don't need laptops. A $40 Leapster handheld gaming system will teach them the same stuff for a tiny fraction of the cost. This level of spending for something they'll probably break anyway is absurd.


Let's do some math:
By Chillin1248 on 4/14/2011 11:33:34 AM , Rating: 2
$200,000 divided by 300 = $666.66

Besides the coincidental number, where is the other $166.67 going?

-------
Chillin




RE: Let's do some math:
By aliasfox on 4/14/2011 1:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming they're tax free (as any non-profit purchase is supposed to be), I'd assume it would go towards an iPad case, extended warranty, insurance, and likely miscellaneous supplies for the teacher (an iPad for him/her, cleaning supplies, spare power adapters).

I think putting the iPad in kids' hands is a good thing, if only because there's less to go wrong than with a laptop (hinges, keyboards, etc all break pretty easily). And with touch, accelerometer, gyroscope, and GPS interfaces, there are opportunities for different types of multimedia and engagement, especially for little kids who have short attention spans.

That said, I would probably have tried to put these on mobile carts in the school first. That gets them in front of more kids, and allows more teachers to demonstrate actionable learning plans/agendas that can incorporate new tools. I'd rather have 50 teachers finding ways to incorporate iPads into the classroom rather than just 10.

I would probably also have picked up first gen iPads on clearance, too. There's not much more a full price 2nd gen can do in the elementary classroom that a discounted 1st gen couldn't.


RE: Let's do some math:
By AssBall on 4/14/2011 1:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the other $50k is going toward software or the inevitable spares they will need.

The iPad is a toy. Heaven forbid the kids learn how to use a real computer that can be used for actual work in society.


iPad is a great learning tool
By vision33r on 4/15/2011 9:42:33 AM , Rating: 2
The great thing about the iPad is that it can be used to learn just about anything with the right app and anyone even as young as age 2 can use it for learning.

My 2 year old is learning about shapes and colors. There are many good apps to help him learn the basics.

I let him try my Android tablet and he quickly throws it aside for the iPad. I blame that on the complexity of Honeycomb and lack of apps.

Anyhow, the iPad is a great medium for kids to run educational apps than using the keyboard and mouse which can be a challenge for preschool kids.

All the uninformed troll comments in this thread are coming from people with no kids or have never worked with young kids before.




By redpriest_ on 4/16/2011 3:37:14 AM , Rating: 2
Honestly, this is a great idea, in my opinion.

My son has been using the iPad since it came out (my wife and I bought one each, and he uses my wife's when she's not using it), and he's 2 1/2 years old now. He's a pro at navigating to the apps he wants to use, he can unlock it, and it provides endless hours of amusement for him, and us, as there are many brilliant kid-oriented apps. He's learned so many words just from seeing the picture of it on the screen, hearing it, and then repeating it back.

It's a tough device - we have it in a case, and it's gone through some pretty tough wear and tear.


SOS, DD
By Beenthere on 4/15/2011 3:45:07 PM , Rating: 1
Dick and Jane won't be able to read, write or do math but they'll be able to use a touch screen. How frigging insane.




RE: SOS, DD
By michael2k on 4/15/2011 7:03:07 PM , Rating: 1
Ignorant luddite.

Dick and Jane were born knowing how to use a touch screen. They probably knew at the age of 1, but since iPhones and iPads weren't available to them five years ago, they didn't get to show off.

No, what will happen is that they will be able to use learning software (flash card, animation, repetition, games, etc) that they normally wouldn't be able to access because their hand eye coordination or gross motor skills haven't developed enough.

My 5 year old daughter can barely use a pencil or crayon, can kind of use a keyboard, but can deftly use a mouse, trackpad, and touch UI. She is learning how to read, write, and do math even though she's physically unable to draw the letter "a". She's been doing all of the above (learning I mean) since the age of 2 because I had an iPhone that she could manipulate before she could talk.


RE: SOS, DD
By Beenthere on 4/16/2011 12:19:17 AM , Rating: 2
Denial is a defense mechanism people use when they can't deal with reality.


Vague speech
By japlha on 4/14/2011 10:57:10 AM , Rating: 2
What a bunch of mindless drivel.

quote:
"We can’t say whether what the school district in Maine or anywhere else is doing is good or not good," Peter Pizzolongo of the National Association for the Education of Young Children told USA Today, "but what we can say is when the iPad or any other technological tool is used appropriately, then it’s a good thing for children’s learning."


To everyone that makes "official" statements just use this and you'll be fine.

"<anyone> can't say whether what <anyone anywhere> is doing is <anything>," <said anyone to anyone>, "but what <anyone> can say is when <anything> is used <in anyway> then <something happens>".




So... that's the problem!
By nafhan on 4/14/2011 11:18:23 AM , Rating: 2
So, the problem with the school systems was: no iPad's.
Glad they figured this out!

On a related note, I'm pretty sure my not quite five year old could manage to break an iPad within a semester...




shellfish lobsters
By linuxgtwindos3gtmucs on 4/14/2011 11:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
I wish they wouldn't be selfish and got xo laptops for their kid and 1 for a kid in africa.

the xo has a shared network and collaboration which is more in line with education compared to iPrick2.




Correction
By Tresner on 4/14/2011 12:07:08 PM , Rating: 2
Small point to the writer:
quote:
Maine... was the first state to distribute laptops (Apple iMacs) to all seventh and eighth graders nearly 10 years ago.

The iMac is, and always has been a specific desktop model, never was a "laptop" iMac. I believe they distributed Apple iBooks .




What is the point?
By maven81 on 4/14/2011 1:15:28 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't the advantage of having a bunch of kids in the same classroom the fact that they could participate in group learning? Allowing them to participate in things like discussions, giving them the opportunity to ask questions, express opinions and so on? If you give every student an ipad, they are learning individually. And in that case there's no point of them even being in the same class, this is no better then staying home.




Must own stock
By Nutzo on 4/14/2011 2:27:04 PM , Rating: 2
Sound to me like someone making these decisions either owns apple stock, or is an iBot drinking the Apple koolaid.

There are so many other, cheaper solutions out there such as desktops or netbooks that would actually prepare students more for what they would be using in the real world.




By callmeroy on 4/14/2011 2:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
...but glad I don't pay taxes in that state, I don't think I'd be too keen on this during the state of finances right now.

Ok so $200 grand isn't exactly breaking the bank for a state budget that is in the billions, but still its the principle of the matter. Its the mentality of "oh well its only $xxx that's not THAT much...we should be fine"...then over time it sneaks up on you and totals exponentially more than you first considered it would be.

I'm just saying right now doesn't pretty much all 50 states have much more important uses for every penny they can find?




But wait
By cruisin3style on 4/14/2011 4:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
I thought we wanted to give more power to the states!?!?




my wife is a teacher
By Lazarus Dark on 4/16/2011 2:08:29 PM , Rating: 2
She recently had to administer some new Ohio year end tests... to kindergartners. There was a lot of crying. 5 year olds canNOT color within lines, so much for bubbling. MANY 5 year olds in public schools, even in a middle class area CANT READ; or, at least not well: "suh...eee...thu...kuh-at...rrruuun". And they were supposed to complete the tests in a rediculous time limit.

My wife does not think they are ready for ipads. Its far more important to learn to read, write, and do basic math. Plus... when was the last time you let a 5 year old play with your $500 electronic that would probably shatter if dropped? yeah.




By rlandess on 4/16/2011 2:44:54 PM , Rating: 2
As school budgets go 200k is not much. But what else could you buy for 200k? Students already have access to a lot of technology. Ipads are not a frugal way to get touch screen technology to the kids. Apple has hooked the school systems again with a limited platform that offers a few useful programs but will cost the school systems a lot of cash over the life of the product. Most IT people I have worked with agreed that the features available on the Ipad would be available in a lower cost platform that would better integrate into the existing infrastructure at most schools. But of course our school jumped the gun and bought in like everyone else. 60k later we get a nice write up in the paper about being progressive but now we have to support these expensive turds.

And anyone who advocates Apple dumbing down of technology should keep it to yourselves. If you want to learn about technology then there is an amount of effort that has to be made to understand the underlying logic and reason behind the machine. Everyone doesn't use a lot of math beyond addition and multiplication in their adult lives but we all have to take algebra and geometry. These classes help us understand difficult concepts that allow us to develop and learn better. Just because 98% of people won't get into IT at some point in their lives doesn't mean that they shouldn't have to learn a little about the inner workings of the devices they will use everyday for the rest of their lives.

Think about the movie Idiocracy. If everyone used Apple products then in just a few generations there wouldn't be anyone left to fix your Icrap.




"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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