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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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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.


"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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