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LA high schools give up on iPads, stick with more traditional computing options

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s (LAUSD’s) decision to supply all of its students throughout its 47 campuses with iPads was rife with controversy from the start. The initial contract with Apple was valued at $30 million (however, the contract was expected to expand to $500 million), which put the price tag at $678 per iPad. A revised budget later showed that the cost per iPad was nearly $100 more, at $770 per device.
 
Things only got worse after students began bypassing security filters on their iPads in order to access “forbidden” websites like Facebook, Twitter and Pandora, which led to the tablets being recalled by the LAUSD.
 
Now it seems as if the LAUSD has come to its senses with regards to a one-device-fits-all strategy for its students. The LAUSD has put its iPad rollout to 27 high schools on hold in favor of a plan that would favor notebook computers and convertibles.
 
As LAUSD board member Monica Ratliff put it, “Why would we treat all our students — whether they are a first-grader or a high school freshman — as if they all had the same technology needs? They don't.... To have a one-device-fits-all approach does not make sense."

 It's not all smiles at LAUSD high schools when it comes to iPads in the classroom

Why it took so long to come to this realization is unknown. An iPad might be a useful tool on lower grades — where it is often used for spelling activities, math review, and sight word recognition — but might not be as beneficial to high school students who need to write papers or might want to do something as simple as plug in a flash drive to access pictures or documents.
 
As one principal Carolyn McKnight put it, even when used in standardized testing, the iPads often came up short. "Students were more comfortable on the laptop because of the amount of writing and the size of the screen," said McKnight. "It was really hard to see the whole problem on the iPad."
 
"We had the right urgency, but urgency can be the enemy of necessary scrutiny," added Steve Zimmer, another LAUSD board member. "Now our challenge is to maintain the urgency while getting the details right."


Microsoft Surface Pro 2
 
Students, teachers, and administrators at the 27 high schools are now being given the opportunity to test six different devices to see which better fits each individual school’s needs. Some of the device choices include the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga, Microsoft Surface Pro 2 (which will actually come with the keyboard attachment; the iPads were not supplied with keyboards), Dell Latitude E7420, and even some Chromebook options.
 
The LAUSD Board of Education has earmarked $40 million to fund the machines for the high schools.

Source: LA Times



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Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 11:49:11 AM , Rating: 2
...but I was under the impression that schools were supposed to provide and education, and prepare students to enter the workforce.

You know what kind of a device kids these days need no education for in order to effectively use it? Tablets.

You know what kind of device usage knowledge is not going to prepare you for entering the workforce? Tablets.

This display is nothing but yet another demonstration of people putting forward policies to either yield to fashion and/or to appear "progressive" while not actually understanding the issues at hand. There was no possible way, in any possible universe, for a school district to justify spending any time or money on tablets. Not only will tablet expertise not help the kids once they leave school, but they already know how to use them...and if they didn't, they could figure it out on their own in about 5 minutes.

Computer literacy, on the other hand, is clearly crucial to preparing kids to enter the workforce. The world runs on computers...actual computers. With keyboards and mice and productivity software like word processors and spreadsheets (at a minimum). The kids need to learn how to type. Properly. On a keyboard. They need to learn proper grammar so that what they type makes some kind of f%cking sense, and doesn't make themselves and their employers look like as$hats.

Whether it's convertibles, laptops, desktops, or any combination of the above that schools provide to the kids to learn on, *that's* what they need to be doing. They need to learn Windows skills (teaching kids on Macs is counter-productive...kids who learn to use Macs in school have to unlearn it, and then learn Windows once they attempt to enter the workforce, putting them at a disadvantage), they need to learn MS Office skills, and they need to be able to demonstrate basic competency at using web products and services.




RE: Cal me crazy...
By kattanna on 6/30/2014 12:42:12 PM , Rating: 2
one thing that also always seems to be left out in such tech roll outs is.. educating the teachers themselves on how to use said item.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 1:00:23 PM , Rating: 3
Good point. If you need more than 5 minutes to figure out how to use a tablet though, regardless of whatever other circumstances are in play, maybe you should just stay at home with the curtains closed anyway.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Freakie on 6/30/2014 4:16:33 PM , Rating: 2
Teachers are taught how to use their computers. Schools and school districts have mandatory training throughout the year to ensure teachers know how to use the technological tools that they have (and that the school/district pay for). And on top of that, many offer voluntary training as well for more general computer things.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Alexvrb on 6/30/2014 8:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
Half of them are too old and trying to teach them how to effectively use new devices is incredibly different. Of course maybe that would be a good use-case for student aides. :)


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Apone on 6/30/2014 2:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
@ Motoman

Agreed. I freaking knew this was going to happen. I love the part where LAUSD said the time realization of the "one size fits all doesn't make sense" took so long because I'm 99% sure some high level LAUSD administrator thought it would be a neat idea to get trendy by mass adopting iPads without performing some due diligence.

quote:
There was no possible way, in any possible universe, for a school district to justify spending any time or money on tablets.


It's California; when it comes to spending, all logic goes out the window (I live in SoCal so I see it all the time).

It still puzzles me why customers and tablet makers try to stretch out a tablet's capabilities. I keep seeing accessories like bluetooth keyboards, vertical stand mounts, USB dongle adapters, etc. to a point where you might as well just pick up an ultrabook or laptop and get it over with. I can't imagine writing an 80-page dissertation/semester paper, business plan, coding a program, or any type of multi-tasking is something a tablet can do in the long run.



RE: Cal me crazy...
By Nutzo on 6/30/2014 5:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
And yet nobody is going to get fired, demoted, or even get a stern talking to over this huge waste of money on this iPad contract. I wonder how much more it's going to cost them to get out of the iPad contract.

And yes, the current generation of iPads/tablets are not much better than netbooks, except that iPads cost more. Netbooks where inexpensive computers with limited CPU power, that where meant for browsing the web and checking email.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By SPOOFE on 6/30/2014 7:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And yet nobody is going to get fired, demoted, or even get a stern talking to over this huge waste of money on this iPad contract.


Of course not, it's LAUSD. They have to jump through hoops to fire pedophiles. The only staff they fire quickly are effective teachers.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By mik123 on 6/30/2014 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, but to be a devil's advocate:

if these kids will be entering the workforce in 10 years, how do you know what kind of devices will be popular?

For all we know, Google Glass might become the standard interface to our computers in 10 years.


RE: Cal me crazy...
By Motoman on 6/30/2014 7:50:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
if these kids will be entering the workforce in 10 years, how do you know what kind of devices will be popular?


I can guarantee you that in 10 years, desktop and laptop PCs will still be what essentially everyone uses at work. I will bet my life on it.

quote:
For all we know, Google Glass might become the standard interface to our computers in 10 years.


...if that is the case, I'll have killed myself already.


"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997














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