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Education Portables The Almighty Buck News

Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student 456

Posted by timothy
from the boondoggle-defined dept.
tripleevenfall writes "Thanks to a federally-funded grant for magnet schools, every student at Heritage Middle School in West Saint Paul, Minnesota, now has an iPad 2." Why in my day, we had to buy our own graphing calculators — in the snow, both ways, uphill!
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Minnesota School Issues iPad 2 To Every Student

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  • level (Score:3, Interesting)

    by emkyooess (1551693) on Friday April 22, 2011 @09:45PM (#35911978)

    Maybe it works better at middle schools than research has shown it doesn't work in higher education.

    http://chronicle.com/article/iPads-for-College-Classrooms-/126681/ [chronicle.com]

  • by matty619 (630957) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:00PM (#35912052)

    With public school issued ipads? Are these bone stock ipads? Or are they loaded with some sort of locked down ios that prevents 12 year olds from using the thing to play Angry Birds when they're in class?

    If they're somehow locked down to make them only useful for the curriculum, I get it. If they're just off the shelf ipads, I don't get it. They're just giving out toys with our tax dollars.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:15PM (#35912126)

    Okay, first, Netbooks==Smallish Notebooks. They're nothing different. They are not particularly good for school. No one writes essays during class 99% of the time. I can see instances where a tablet may work but not convinced.

    Most of my ideas how education should be reformed don't run along electronic gadgets anyway. I think the textbook racket should be abolished. I think the teachers of a nation or state can come together and make their own thing that would be distributed for free. Just do a wikibooks for arithmetic, trig, history, whatever. How often do these fundamental subjects change? Not that much. Then when they get printed up, go for the Japanese model, where they are split up into 80-120 page booklets so they're good for 6-8 weeks. Make them into disposable so the kids actually own and can write and draw in since they keep in.

    I alway despised these huge textbooks, where on average, only 1/3 of it, at best, was used throughout the year. Initimidating, heavy, expensive, and a waste of every year wrapping them in some stupid cover.

    Frankly, the future of education will be something like Khan academy, with students learning at their own pace, with the understanding that they have to meet milestones to pass tests or work in groups on projects. An iPad or similiar MAY be useful towards this, but it require planning/coordination on the part of the school and its administration and teachers and not just buying the tablet as the answer in itself.

    (I'm also wary of such a relatively expensive item and would wait until it or something like it can be driven down to $100 per student. Yes, yes, OLPC.)

  • Re:level (Score:4, Interesting)

    by emkyooess (1551693) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:19PM (#35912146)

    re:2:
    You describe a terrible way of learning. Sure, audio notes and bookmarks might help you to pass a course, but you're sure as hell not going to get as much out of it as reprocessing the material to write it down (in your own way, too).

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:31PM (#35912200)

    Having sat on a couple committees for primary (meaning K-12) schools back when my mom was a teacher I can tell you that many of them have a shitty technology process. They don't hire a competent IT department or anything to oversee it, it is just kinda whatever teacher or administrator likes to play with tech gets promoted in to it.

    So what happened here is the school tech person is an Apple head. They love their shiny Apple toys and think they are just great. The school gets a grant, and the grant probably specifies it has to be used on something like "Technology directly supporting the education of students." So the district goes to their tech person, who is in fact just an administrator who likes Apple toys and says "We got this grant, what should we get?" and the person says "iPads for everyone!"

    Sadly, it really is how it often works. Even more often when you deal with people who are fanboys of a particular technology, as Apple people are known to be.

    We've actually seen that at the university where I work. Our department charges differential tuition, meaning you pay more for our major so we can use the money to support your education better. The only real restrictions on it is it has to be spent on things for the students. So we can't go and buy office furniture with it or something.

    Well, we have a few Mac zealot type professors and they were pushing to use it to give "free" Macbooks to the honors students. We don't charge enough to give it to everyone and of course it isn't really free since they pay more tuition but they thought it would be a great idea. They claimed it would attract better students and help with education. I claim they just like Macs and haven't though it through (like for example the fact that much of our software is Windows only).

    In our case wisdom prevailed and it has been used for things like upgrading computers in a lab, that ALL students can use and that can run all our software (not all software is licensed for personal laptops, unfortunately) and for new measurement and test equipment (oscilloscopes and such) however the push was there to go for the toys for students and it was a knee-jerk "This is nifty," thing rather than a well reasoned "This is what would be the most effective use of the money," thing.

  • by dafing (753481) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:36PM (#35912226) Journal
    Heres a local school being covered in The Southland Times, Invercargill's main newspaper:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/4070984/School-trialling-portable-devices-to-augment-students-learning [stuff.co.nz]

    When trials were over, the iPad had absolutely destroyed any "competitors", the students loved them, they are "cool", they are CHEAP, they have MUCH better battery life, far better educational software custom designed for each device, often free, or 1.29 NZD.... , great quality screens, thin... did I mention they are also CHEAP?
  • by arb phd slp (1144717) on Friday April 22, 2011 @10:58PM (#35912320) Homepage Journal

    What disappoints me is that these are consumption-only devices -- No User-Serviceable Parts Inside. This won't help students learn how computers work or how to write software.

    This is exactly what I was thinking. This is miles away from, say, Maine's laptop program. I've seen what those kids are doing with their laptops. You give kids a powerful tool and you get amazing products from them. Sadly, people are going to be impressed by what these kids do with these tablets, not even realizing that they've been hobbled by the limitations of the platform.
    I like my iPad for certain specific tasks, but "powerful tool" it isn't.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Friday April 22, 2011 @11:12PM (#35912386)

    I remember being interested in computers early on, yet having no knowledge of how anything worked. That inspired me to go to the library and check out as many books as I could on computers, operating systems, programming languages, etc, which helped me to tinker around with my machine at home.

    And what Apple is pushing with the iProducts is that "you don't own your computer, we do." It'll interest them enough to mess with what they have at home, but then they'll find that they have to pay Apple again to access the mobile device, and only on extremely limited terms. Everything that I learned about computers was on hardware that never fought me or got in my way. And if Apple et. al. have their way, they'll undo the terrible mistake of DRM free, unrestricted computers being available to the average person.

    The worst part is taxpayer money feeding into Apple's OCD, and their insistence that "the mobile space is only for thus and only those who pay us to bless them."

  • Re:level (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tharsman (1364603) on Friday April 22, 2011 @11:26PM (#35912456)

    I had a good deal of all types. The arrogant type that get annoyed when you ask questions, the helpful type that would do their best to aid, the one that would just lecture but have no clue to answer, the ones that set as a goal to fail the whole class and hated that I always managed to perfect out their tests in 10 minutes, etc.

    Now,not to brag, I am no genius, I horribly failed many subjects (you may already notice English was one of them) but the subjects I was there to learn I was so interested in that I would read the full text book in a month. Text book that was meant to be split for two semesters. When you want to learn, it's always best to just grab a good book and read through it. If you doing this at 1AM, no professor will be available to answer your questions.

    It's also a good thing I got used to learn this way, as I was prepared for the real world where technology changes and you must learn new stuff quickly. I seen fellow students that never picked up a book willingly unable to do any job outside of what they canned during their collage lecture listening years.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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