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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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