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Apple is trying to rope 'em in early

Los Angeles students will receive iPads for their studies thanks to a recent $30 million contract with Apple.

Apple scored the $30 million contract from the L.A. Unified School District this week, which will deploy iPads to all students throughout 47 campuses. 

The Board of Education voted 6 to 0 on Tuesday to approve the contract after receiving positive input about iPad use from teachers and students. The iPad was also the least expensive device. 

The L.A. Unified School District is paying $678 per iPad, which will come pre-loaded with educational software, but won't include a keyboard. 

The school district also committed to spending "hundreds of millions of dollars" with Apple over the next two years, since they chose the company as their only tablet vendor. 

The iPads have a three-year warranty that includes free replacement devices up to 5 percent of the value of the purchase price. 

The $30 million for Apple's iPads is a steep contract price, but the L.A. district insisted on the measure because new state and national tests will be taken on computers, and it doesn't want its students falling behind on computer skills. Also, the software will help students in the classroom and after school for studying. 

However, there are many concerns floating around the new agreement with Apple. Chief Strategy Officer Matt Hill complained that the funding came from facility bonds, which could have been used for construction instead. The teachers union wanted the money to be used for the hiring of new teachers. 

Aside from school staff and officials, Microsoft has a beef to pick with the L.A. Unified School District too, and I bet you can guess why. That's right -- it wants its Surface tablets to be adopted by school districts so that students start using the Windows operating system early, and this will hopefully lead to loyalty to the OS as they upgrade over the years. 

Robyn Hines, senior director of state government affairs for Microsoft, said that using only one platform throughout the district would limit options, such as innovations/price cuts from other companies and students' ability to learn platforms they'd find in the workplace (such as Windows). 

Last week, Microsoft announced that it was giving away 10,000 Surface RT tablets to teachers at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). The idea was to spread RT adoption in schools by supplying teachers with the devices and even training them how to use it. Microsoft is also expected to announce its "Microsoft Surface for education limited time offer" this month, which will offer $199 Surface RTs (normally retails for $499) to schools and colleges interested in adopting the tablets. If the schools want a touch keyboard with their Surface RT, the total price is $249 (retail $599) and with a type keyboard, the cost is $289 (retail $629). 
The offer will reportedly run until August 31, 2013.

Microsoft is also trying to expand Surface RT's capabilities by employing Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors for the next generation. 

Apple has been making its way into classrooms around the U.S. for years now. In 2011, Maine spent $200,000 to supply its kindergarteners with iPads. Later that year, the iPad entered other elementary schools, such as a third-grade classroom in Millstone, New Jersey. 

Aside from the $30,000 L.A. Unified School District contract, Apple is using other ways to pull kids into its platform early: Apple Camp.

Apple Camp is a three-day, creative workshop for children ages 8-12. It will be held at Apple Retail Stores, and allows kids to film footage and create songs using iMovie and GarageBand on a Mac. After the three days are complete, the children present their work at the Apple Camp Film Festival.

Source: The Los Angeles Times

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$678 per student isn't much...
By aliasfox on 6/19/2013 3:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
$678 per student isn't much when you consider that each textbook middle school on up costs $150. If each of these iPads has textbook material that can replace three years worth of math, science, and history texts, then I think it's money well spent - or at least not significantly squandered.

Let's not forget, Apple launched its interactive-textbook push a couple of years ago. These are (supposedly) textbooks with not only book text, but also interactive models, videos, and other functionality. I haven't seen these textbooks, but at least the marketing spin makes them sound like a solid advancement. If that's really the case, then Apple deserves sales for trying to push the envelope. If the interactive textbooks boil down to simply e-readers, then maybe not.

Of course, my opinion is that all of this is, regardless of technology or brand affiliations, is uesless unless there are small classes and motivated teachers. A good teacher can make difficult topics easy and motivate students in a way that reading a textbook, even a digital one, can't. Suffice it to say, I can remember my good teachers quite easily. The videos and technology they employed? Much less so.

RE: $678 per student isn't much...
By Nutzo on 6/19/2013 5:10:16 PM , Rating: 1
Except the digital books are not free. They will be paying more, for digital content, since it has to be purchased/licensed each year, whereas physical books can be used for multiple years.

This is going to be a massive failure on many levels.

Higher cost, fragile tablets that will end up broken or lost, kids will end up downloading p0rn or surfing the net instead of working.

Withing a couple months I'm sure we will read several stories of kids being robbed/mugged or even killed on thier way to or from school by some crook/gang member who wants thier ipad.

It's already happened in another school district, where a kid was dragged to his death because he didn't let go of the school issued iPad, when some crook grabed it and drove away.

The iPad does nothing for a school environment that couldn't be done on a cheaper laptop. This is just some apple iBots in the school district offices of wanting to do the trendy thing. It will be just as much of a failure as all the schools that rolled out netbooks and thenm dumped them a couple years later.

I gues the only good thing will be the flood of cheap used iPads on the LA market by christmas.

RE: $678 per student isn't much...
By Tone12 on 6/21/2013 9:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
nutzo, exactly. Bringing in these tablets and Apple's digital textbooks "looks" like a good move and that is all the administrators tend to care about. But it is unnecessary and more expensive than traditional methods.

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