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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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RE: meh
By Gzus666 on 4/14/2011 12:12:53 PM , Rating: 2
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.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton
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