iPads in Los Angeles and TCO

One of the downsides of raising questions about the classroom effectiveness of new technologies is when a school district buys tablets and laptops, journalists call to ask for my view of the purchases.

That happened yesterday when the Board of Education for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)–the second largest school system in the nation–approved a $30 million contract with Apple Inc. to buy iPads for every student in 47 schools in the first phase of a district-wide plan to have 655,000 students equipped with tablets. Funds for these iPads come from two bond referenda aimed at construction and maintenance of facilities in LAUSD.

Called The Common Core Technology Project, each iPad costs the district $678,  higher than the price of an iPad bought in an Apple store, but it comes with a case (no keyboard, however) and an array of pre-loaded software aimed at preparing students for the impending Common Core standards and the state online testing system. The Board of Education and Superintendent John Deasy want each student to have access to an iPad. With  mostly Latino and poor students in LAUSD, the eventual cost of this contract with Apple Inc. could run over $400 million.

I received three calls from Los Angeles journalists looking for my reactions to the Board of Education decision on iPads. Since I was working with a group of Bay area principals and the journalists were on a short deadline, we did not talk. Later in the day, I read the LAUSD press release on the decision and different media stories.

Here is what I would have said to the reporters.

1. There is no body of evidence that iPads will increase math and reading scores on state standardized tests. There is no evidence that students using iPads (or laptops or desktop computers) will get decent paying jobs after graduation. These are the most common reasons boards of education and school administrators across the nation give for buying tablets for K-12 students. But not in LAUSD.

Acquiring 1:1 iPads for students, according to the LAUSD press release is to: “provide an individualized, interactive and informative-rich learning environment” for every student. One would have to assume that such an “environment” would lead to gains in test scores. But it is an assumption. Since many low-income families do not have computers at home or Internet connections, providing iPads is a worthy reason–what used to be called “closing the digital divide“–for the large expenditure.

On what basis, however, will the district determine whether to move to phase 2 of the plan? Again, according to the official press release, the assessment of this first phase “will include feedback … from teachers, students, parents and other key stakeholders.” That’s it. No hard data on how often the devices were used, in what situations, and under what conditions. Nor mention of data on student outcomes.

2. Apart from “closing the digital divide,” the main reason for the Apple Inc. contract is that Common Core standards and accompanying online tests are on the horizon and due to arrive in 2014-2015. LAUSD wants teachers and students to be ready.

3. The true cost of this experiment runs far higher than the projected $400 million to give iPads to 655,000 students. That is what Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) means. The cost for the iPad is given as $678 per unit (remember, there is no keyboard usually listed at $100 which will have to be bought eventually for secondary school students). Funds to hire school technical assistants, providing the wireless infrastructure, loss of tablets, and repair of broken tablets, insurance, professional development for teachers, costs for replacement devices when three-year warranties expire—I could go on but these numbers double and triple the published hardware and software costs. Consider that the reports of the $30 million contract with Apple Inc. omitted that the Board of Education approved $50 million for this first phase to accommodate some of these other costs detailed above.

Here is an infographic on TCO from Dell, a company that has a stake in the tablet market.

TCO_HC_EDU_Infographic_v1-1

Intel, another company with a vested interest in Microsoft tablets and a losing competitor in the LAUSD bid for a contract produced a white paper that also pointed out that TCO runs from two to three times higher than the announced price of the device.

The point is that TCO is the true cost and administrators and school boards eager to buy devices hide TCO in separate documents or glossy verbiage. Worst of all, no one looks ahead to that year when bond funds are gone and these glorious devices have been superseded by even smarter machines.

These are some of the points that I would have raised with journalists had I been able to speak with them. But yesterday’s news is often forgotten. No one called me today.

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62 Comments

Filed under school reform policies, technology

62 responses to “iPads in Los Angeles and TCO

  1. sondracuban

    I would still send my reply to these journalists. It looks to me like the schools are being swindled by Apple. The connection between higher and more robust literacy and access to computers has yet to be made. SOndra

    • larrycuban

      Thanks for the thought, Sondra. If by the off-chance any of the journalists call, that is exactly what I will do.

  2. Reblogged this on From experience to meaning… and commented:
    From the moment I heard about the massive amount of iPads being bought in Los Angeles, I wondered what Larry Cuban thoughts would be. Luckily, he wrote them down.

    • Funny I just read about Miami Dade spending $63mil and thought the same thing, “wait till Larry Cuban hears about this…” But the real question, I wonder if you could get a school board to pause long enough on the TCO question to bring in the real efficacy issue.

      • larrycuban

        Getting the LAUSD board to pause and consider effectiveness of buying iPads–didn’t happen, as far as I know.

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Pedro, for reblogging the post.

  3. Barry Wilson

    If the test scores don’t rise, no one will blame the Ipad or Apple. As usual, great perspective here– but it’s ultimately about business, not education. And the sizzle, not the dog meat on the grill.

  4. There you go again pulling out the usual strawman for why not to buy computers. Educational research is a subjective, soft science. Even if you have evidence that using iPads in your district will guarantee every student admission to Harvard, it is impossible to claim that it would work with another district because the conditions are complex. If integrating technology in schools was a complicated process then its possible to have a causal relationship between one district and another and make projections. But since school districts are complex organisms (using your analysis from your most recent book) it is impossible to predict what will happen with iPads in LAUSD without careful analysis of the culture in which they are introduced. Even then most likely scores will not go up because the main goal of the computers is to have students to take standardized tests. (A wonderful anomaly is Union City, NJ.) The new Common Core Standards will almost guarantee scores will go down. If I was a poor parent in the LAUSD I would welcome the move because it would give my son or daughter a chance to become familiar with and use a modern piece of technology even if its only to be used for school testing. That gives them a better chance of getting a job than if they never had the experience with the iPad.

    • larrycuban

      Hey, your comment is exactly what I would like the LAUSD Board of Education, Superintendent, and its press release on the Apple contract to say. Thanks for taking the time to comment on the post.

  5. Bob Calder

    The TCO figures aren’t very certain as competence and the issue of Microsoft versus Red Hat, versus Apple user management generates huge differences in TCO although the biggest complaint in previous 1:1 systems has been repair but those were run prior to the introduction of the tough glass we use today.

    What I’m curious about is why the school district didn’t consider spending a year or two building their own content archives since they will HAVE to do blended teaching unless they’re nuts. Depending on what amounts to a textbook vendor in today’s paradigm is pretty whacky in any case.

    I should have said short-sighted, but why not create content when you have several tens of thousands of employees, many of whom are highly qualified and who have already created hundreds of curricula? They don’t really think that superior results are achieved by using district supplied materials?

    • larrycuban

      Bob,
      You raise important points about using the expertise the district has in its teachers and locally-produced content. I could not access the actual documents submitted by the Superintendent to Board of Education to see whether district had built “content archives” or will tap local talent. Thanks.

  6. Larry,
    On using educational funds to bridge the digital divide, you may be interested in this research which has just been published by CfBT in the UK. We looked very hard to find evidence that spending money on technology for socially disadvantaged children, a popular policy option by governments across the world, showed clear educational benefits.

    http://www.cfbt.com/en-GB/Research/Research-library/2013/r-beyond-the-digital-divide-2013

    • larrycuban

      Thanks, Joe, for the link to the UK study. That 95 percent of homes with children have Internet connections is close to percentage of middle and high income families in the U.S. But for low-income families the gap is much greater particularly in rural and urban poverty areas.

  7. Of course no ‘good’ deed goes unpunished so the board should have expected some criticism…just because. That said, there are some very solid reasons why this is NOT cause for celebration. In addition to the issues you raised, the most powerful one being the fact that there’s no convincing evidence linking the PURCHASE of an electronic device with increased achievement, as much as some would wish it were the case. Here (and I’ll try to be brief) are a few other reasons why people should be wary. The best one is the last one, by the way if you just want to skip there.
    A) (Anecdotally and flawed, yes) my experience is that many classroom iPads lie unused for the most of the time because…
    B) Nobody thought through how to manage the devices. they need to be loaded with the correct apps, charged and kept in good repair. That is expensive and time consuming.
    C) The apps need to be of good quality and carefully selected. Most are shiny, catchy and of no value.
    D) classroom integration is the determiner of success and I see no evidence of personnel or budgets to handle leadership and training needed to do this right–if, in fact, that’s possible at this point. If the project is to be successful this will have to happen.
    E) Much of what’s out there is crappy at best and the ‘tried and true’ is generally better. People can’t be expected to abandon what works for this.
    F) the school IT infrastructure needs to be such that it can handle hundreds of devices all online and clambering for high bandwidth. I bet that’s not the case.
    G) Theft
    H) Apple fixes it so that things are obsolete in 2-3 years. My iPad 1, so nice three years ago is useless. :>(
    I) What really happens on handhelds (brief reading, games and a lot of social networking) runs mostly counter to thoughtful engagement; the ‘stuff’ of learning.
    J) The poor IT staff will be driven crazy trying to support the devices and core applications will likely suffer.
    K) zealous admin staff (that’s not all of them; most have lots of common sense) will force the tablet issue even where it does not belong and, in effect, cause things to get worse.
    L) FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE you don’t just jump to the solution before determining what the problem is. Clearly ‘buy a sh*t ton of shiny iPads’ was the solution. But what was the problem? I am not trying to be funny here. In this world we first articulate the problem and then build (and test) the solution. It’s not a simple as buying gear! The ‘problem’ is the many sides of student achievement and the solutions need to be complex!

    Yes, this is intentionally negative. It is NOT to say that tablets have no place. It is to say, rather, that we are in the business of teaching and learning. Tablets do have a place but they are subservient to what we do. So how the hell did they become the focus!!!!

    • larrycuban

      I found your list of reasons why people should be wary of large-scale purchases of IT, drawn from your many years of experience, most helpful. Thanks, Maurice, for taking the time to have readers consider them.

      • In the end, as I see it, it’s best to ask the right questions and, therefore, to try and tackle the problems effectively. I’ve seen…throughout my career…
        – a jump to solutions without due consideration for what the problems are and;
        – external interests (often profit for corporations or political gain for some individuals) trumping the needs of our system.
        And on it goes…

      • larrycuban

        Thanks, Maurice. Surely, “And on it goes.”

    • It is NOT to say that tablets have no place. It is to say, rather, that we are in the business of teaching and learning. Tablets do have a place but they are subservient to what we do. So how the hell did they become the focus!!!!

      They are a focus because everyone should have access to them especially in the poorer communities. I spent most of my career working with math teachers helping them to implement their technology in the classroom. Sure many computers get wasted, but they are outnumbered by the number of teachers who take advantage of them to provide better instruction for their students. The biggest complaint I heard from teachers over the years: “We don’t have enough computers to do our jobs adequately.” So unless you are a teacher basher or always see the glass as half empty, take a close look and you will see that there will be plenty of good things that will result from the LA initiative.

      • larrycuban

        Thanks, Ihor, for your comment and point about providing tablet access to teachers and students in low-icome, minority schools.

      • Hi there Ihor, your points about equality of access (and, thus, opportunity) as well as the need to constantly encourage forward strides (as long as they are documented and disseminated) are well taken. Check out my linkedin profile if you feel I am in any way insincere in this assertion or, for that matter, alien to doing exactly what you have been doing throughout your own career. I feel, though, that you may have misinterpreted the motive behind my admittedly negatively-toned comment; the anger that caused you to make the leap toward the notion that this may be teacher-bashing was one dead giveaway. I have been a teacher for the past 30 years and am not criticizing my colleagues. I am, rather, pointing out:
        (1) decisions (not teachers–they have to carry this initiative out, regardless of whether they had a say) need to involve fully-articulating problems, then crafting integrated solutions rather than leading to equipment purchases followed by putting the gear out into the system unsupported on so many levels. Bandwidth and infrastructure builds, IT support, training, ongoing PD, equipment management and app purchase needs to be enabled too.
        (2) (and being familiar with CLIME I know you will find no fault with this) In the end we have to maintain the outcomes/standards uppermost, not the technological means by which they are achieved. There are quite a few technologies that can be found to be effective (digital interfaces–my favourite as I am a physics major, computer algebra/geometry systems, various special-purpose handhelds like TI’s CAS, IWBs and, yes, excellently constructed apps for IOS and Android. And, yeah, paper and pencil :-) In the end, what really matters is how it gets used. Easier said than done.
        By the way, with that in mind, I just found your blog. It’s quite interesting–expect your hit count to go up a bit over the next few days as I make my way through it :-) Some excellent ideas and strategies in there that I will be passing along to my colleagues way up here on the other side of the border.

      • I appreciate your kinds words about my blog (http://climeconnections.blogspot.com). I can see that we have a lot more to agree about than not.

  8. Joel VerDuin

    Almost all schools of education discuss the need for shared vision. What almost seems to be happening is that the shared vision exists between superintendents and school boards who are desperate, and the ed tech industry that is desperate to make them desperate (if that makes sense). Heck, parents are even in this mix, at least the ones who are pro-tech.

    It seems to be an odd mix of:
    1. General belief that technology promotes some form of transformation
    2. Technology is linked to higher forms of engagement
    3. Low-Tech = non-competitive
    4. High-Tech = Innovative Workers which also means
    5. High-Tech is an economic survival strategy

    It is clear from the response of the superintendent when this wasn’t going well earlier, how he wants to manipulate the issue. In his press release, it says, “The Committee’s action is a setback to our efforts to make LAUSD K-12 students competitive with the best school districts in the country.” That says a lot.

    People will argue all of the wrong points (wrong device, no link to achievement, too expensive, what about support?). Don’t get me wrong, these are important, but they are symptoms of a larger illness. How is it that nobody is asking about a clearly articulated plan for educational improvement that this whole initiative is a part of (and also who buys into that vision because they were highly involved in creating it – where are the teachers in this?)

    Here is how this will work in 12 months (I predict)…. The superintendent will come back to the table with wonderful and anecdotal evidence about perceptions of engagement, happy kids, happy teachers. It might even have selective achievement data that has risen (but can it really be related to this)? He will be making a plea for expansion of the program to further transform the district into a personalized learning environment… and… in the end, there is no clarity about whether or not that “personalized” environment is or is not making progress – and it is likely that there isn’t even clarity on what that means threaded throughout the organization and community.

    The superintendents and school boards sometimes promote in ways that are indistinguishable from the ed-tech marketing giants.

    Strange days.

  9. MB’s comments: “F) the school IT infrastructure needs to be such that it can handle hundreds of devices all online and clambering for high bandwidth. I bet that’s not the case…” Spot on! I taught in the SFUSD high school with the best tech infrastructure in the district. In 2007, I bought 40 MacBooks for the library, with promises from the IT folks that I’d be able to connect them via our highly touted wireless network. Never happened. Eventually, I dropped another $23K of library money to hardwire the things with CAT5 drops through the cement floor. However, we continued to try to get the wireless hubs to work for the next 5 years, included 3(!) upgrades to wireless hubs and server software changes and updates. It was never possible. Remember, most public schools require a very particular authentication process through their central servers. One insurmountable problem was that SFUSD’s authentication server, like most, runs on a Microsoft app. As the IT consultant told me over and over again, “Apple don’t like Microsoft”. LOL.

    I say the real purpose of the iPad purchase in LAUSD (and I predict that same massive expenditures from all the CORE-waivered urban California districts in the next 6 months) is hardware prep for the insanity of the 2014 or 2015 implementation of the Smarter Balanced Consortium computer-adaptive testing.

    I am so glad to be retired.

    • larrycuban

      Thank you, Patrick, for telling readers about your experiences in the San Francisco high school with the IT infrastructure. LAUSD specifically gave one reason for the purchase the upcoming online tests for Common Core standards.

  10. Not to mention what else that money could have been spent on, or what had to be cut out in order to pay for it, etc. Or whether higher test scores would turn out to be useful–is it “hard data”, or just an indirect inference which comes at a possible intellectual, social and moral cost. As usual, thanks, Larry.

  11. Larry,

    You must not resist. There is no “me” in this debate. . . . there is only “we”.

    Come join the Cyborg. . . . resistance is futile.

    You will be absorbed into the colony. . . .

    Satire aside, this move benefits Apple, which already has hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore tax havens in Ireland. So now they get to reap a huge contract with our tax dollars, pay no taxes offshore on money that was earned here in the states, and then have NO accountability as to whether or not children will really master standards.

    This is business as usual, and it is perverse.

    Suddenly, my brain is inundated with scenes from the French Revolution. . . . “Let them use I-pads” said the ruling elite. . . .

    What’s next, Larry?

    BTW, are we stil interested in doing a cartoon feature for June, July, or August?

    As far as Apple getting a $30 million dollar contract, this is nothing more than bad government colluding with big business. . . . all under the counterfeit mission to improve the lives of children. Take a look:

    http://thetruthoneducationreform.blogspot.com/2013/02/pampered-vs-punished.html?view=snapshot

    • larrycuban

      Thanks,Robert. I am looking to July to run some of the cartoons that you sent. Thanks for commenting.

      • Larry,

        Thank you for such an enlightening article. I believe that technology – even I-pads – can improve education and outcomes but only when used judiciously and when true critical thought is put into how the instruments are integrated into every day learning. Without this, they are little more than fun trinkets that engage fully and teach nothing.

        It is the HUMAN use of technology and not the devices themselves that determine their utility. Too bad no one thought about this before awarding Apple $30 million dollars.

        This is but one LITTLE effort to change and shift power and wealth in this country away from the masses and into the pockets of the uber rich, all in the name of “social justice”. Education is but ONE part of this new paradigm shift, and we can no longer blame globalization.

        Keep up your great blog!

      • larrycuban

        Thanks, Robert.

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  14. I have a tough time with a district shelling out million dollars on IPADs for every student. The IPAD with all of it’s apps will be obsolete within two years. There is little research that supports the idea that IPADs or any technology for that matter will improve student learning and the research that does support it, is flawed.

    Good teaching is what improves student learning. When teachers set challenging learning intentions, are clear about what success means incorporate effective instructional strategies and provide students with good feedback, surprise…students learn at high levels! An IPAD, a Nook, a Kindle, a smart phone, or a PC cannot and will never take the place of effective instruction.

    The district would have been better off buying each teacher John Hattie’s book “Visible Learning for Teachers”, 30 bucks at Amazon.

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  17. I confess that I’m struggling with the idea that we can somehow prepare our students for a digital world without regular and frequent access to digital devices. When our information, learning, and economic landscapes all are being transformed by digital technologies and the Internet, how can we make the argument that analog schooling environments are relevant?

    • larrycuban

      Teaching students to analyze and understand concepts, use evidence to make arguments, evaluate different kinds of evidence, estimate probabilities and distinguish between possibilities and probabilities–all within the context of discipline-based knowledge (math, science, history,etc.)–can and do occur in kindergarten through senior high school classrooms with and without digital devices. Such knowledge and skills are not only relevant but essential in the “transformed” world you describe, Scott.

  18. Problems I find both in this case and the recent decision by the state of Maine NOT to go with Apple are the published intent and objectives for these programs. Like you said, there is no meaningful longitudinal research, empirical or anecdotal, that recently emerging hardware and software on their own (iPads, Android Devices, Chromebooks etc.) improve test scores over time or lead to better prepared members of workforce or society. There is also obviously no evidence that CCSS lead to these outcomes. Missing from a lot of the “iPad” studies that do make their ways around the ed tech practical and theoretical circles is recognition of the contexts – especially the people – that influence the success or failures of those recently emergent hardware and software. Yet these are the arguments that are used to ground the decisions. I wish the rationale for these decisions was simply something like: We make this investment to provide our students and teachers with a flexible and powerful set of choices for meaningful learning experiences. Instead, unfortunately, narrow vision (at least what has been published in official statements) and have already set this and similar projects up for uphill battles because the rationale is so thin.

    • larrycuban

      I agree, Reshan. Thanks for commenting.

    • Relying on research to decide between iPads or Samsung chromebooks doesn’t help much because research is slow, problematic and unreliable for making such decisions. If the decision is between tech or no tech then you can safely assume that there will never be definite research since the tech moves so quickly so the decisions have to be based on contextual, human experience. Claiming there is no research to support is just business as usual and will continue to be so… so its silly to even bring it up.

      • larrycuban

        Perhaps, it is “silly.” I do not think so, however.In government, medicine, business, and elsewhere what the research says about whether something works is brought up often. When public tax funds are involved as they are in schooling children, reasons for expending large sums have to be given to the larger community. Past and present, evidence of effectiveness of one reading program over another, a way of teaching math, and different technologies has been offered as to why one should be adopted and used in classrooms.

      • I would suggest that people are looking for or relying on the wrong kind of research, considering how complex educational environments are. I agree with you that the traditional paradigm moves too slowly, so it is up to educational technology researchers to be shift the conversation away from the tools themselves and towards learning, pedagogy and assessment. When those things are at the forefront, the constantly evolving technology is much easier to slide into the conversation. Right now it seems that the development and emergence of the tools are driving the learning and pedagogy choices, when it should be the other way around.

      • Technology use does not imply any particular pedagogical use. Their purchase is determined by either a mandate (Testing will now be electronic) or an equity issue. Pedagogical decisions are also not really determined by research, but rather by dynamic conservatism. School leaders can always find research that supports their point of view.

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  20. Kate

    I know we hear that billions of dollars are being spent on technology in schools, but what are the actual numbers here in the United States? I see that LAUSD is certainly helping to increase that number.

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  22. I am writing from Connect School of Languages in Toronto. We operate a private English as a Second Language institute. We incorporated the iPad into our school two years ago and it is a game changer for education.

    Let me tell your our story and I hope you can share this information with your readers.

    The iPad for us is a wonder. It is an incredible machine. But as soon as we brought it into the classroom we realized that this machine was very, very different. In the two years since we brought the iPad into our school some interesting things have occurred:

    40% of our teachers resigned
    30% increase in spending on computer-related items (connectors, covers, docking units, TV’s for display and of course the iPad itself)
    20% increase of student complaints about using out-of-date textbooks
    15% increase in student enrollment directly related to using the iPad
    Creating our own material available on iTunes (Our English Listening Textbook is here – https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/english-listening-for-esl/id623257414?mt=11 )

    Let me explain why:

    Teachers
    We lost 40% of our teachers who quit because they did not want to change their teaching style or did not agree with what we are doing. The #1 problem facing any school bringing in the iPad is the teachers. Many teachers have been successful teaching “their way” for many years. And they do not want to change. Period.

    Our solution was to hire new teachers, out of teacher’s college that were not “afraid” of technology. These are the first teachers we started training to use the iPad.

    Not all of the older teachers felt this way. Some of them were very excited to work with the iPad and recognize its future importance in the world. Nevertheless, even for them, it has been a tough road to change.

    Schools need to be prepared to win teacher’s over. If you are going to bring in the iPad, the first place to start is with the teachers. The change in the classroom is so dramatic that it can traumatize teachers.

    Teachers need to be trained. Teachers need to be part of the process. And the most exciting thing about the iPad is that teachers will get more input on the curricula. They can reorganize lesson plans. Add videos. Use different apps. There are so many new ways to teach that it can be very exciting for teachers who are well-trained.

    Curricula
    The iPad eliminates the need of the printed textbook. Printed textbooks are out-of-date. Students hate them. Teachers dislike them. In fact, many students take photos of the textbook on their own mobile devices to do their homework because they don’t want to carry around the book!

    The iPad offers two amazing features – apps and iBooks.

    The sheer number of apps that can be used in the classroom are amazing. However, as a school, your curriculum designers must choose the apps that best match your educational model. And that educational model changes depending on the school, the class and even the teacher.

    iBooks offer a much more exciting proposition. We are busy transferring all of our curricula into the iBooks format. We can offer so much more to teachers and students with the iBooks textbooks.

    The Teacher’s Books can be very detailed AND we can adjust the Teacher’s Books to match the teacher’s style. For example, if a teacher says, “I don’t like this video, I prefer using this video clip”, — no problem. We can simply remove the video clip they don’t want and replace it with the clip the teacher wants. It takes a matter of minutes.

    So much more power is given to the teacher to use content they feel comfortable with.

    In addition, for schools and school boards, some huge benefits will occur:

    you will have complete control over your curricula
    you will be able to foster ideas from the ground up
    teachers will have more opportunity for input
    principals can adjust textbooks to match the student body attending the school (i.e. arts schools vs. sports schools)

    Curricula power can be shared with teachers instead of imposing it on them. This comes with costs. And it will take time to implement. In our case, we are going through our curricula, day by day, class by class. It is a painstaking process. But in the end, the class is so much better and the teachers are visibly excited to come into work everyday to teach with content that is relevant and interactive.

    The Classroom
    One of the more dramatic developments we have seen is the classroom itself. Our current classroom which consists of a large boardroom style table with chairs around it and a whiteboard does not work.

    As soon as students get the iPad, they want to move. And our classroom limits them. So we have been working on redeveloping the look and feel of the classroom so students have more opportunity to move.

    Schools will need to rethink the classroom. The iPad is a mobile device. It is designed to move with you, share with other people and generally be interactive. It is not a computer designed to sit on your desk.

    We dislike any educational model that forces students to sit behind a computer for 3 or 4 hours a day. It is not necessary now. Students in pairs or small groups can create some wonderful and amazing things with the iPad.

    The teacher’s role becomes a guide on the road to discovery as opposed to a sage on as stage.

    In Conclusion

    As soon as we purchased our first few iPads and started to experiment with them, we knew they were game changes.

    For the past two years, we have started the process of revamping our infrastructure to match the power of this new technology. Mobile education gives more freedom and power to teachers and students through the iPads or any mobile platform that may yet be developed.

    If schools want to bring in the iPad they must be prepared for wholesale, dramatic changes to their infrastructure. Teachers must be trained and brought on board to help implement these changes. Curricula needs to be totally revamped. And new content must be developed. The classroom setup with the iPad no longer is viable.

    iPads breathe life into classes. Students can interact, be mobile, share thoughts and ideas. Teachers can be mobile. They can guide, help, interact, inspire. Everything we want our teachers and students to be. The classroom experience can be an amazing one.

    iPads are not computers.

    iPads are the future of education.

  23. Larry

    I am quite sure that the money could be better spent on any number of things, and I’m sure you could provide a list right off the top of your head. But, I don’t think Apple is “swindling” anyone. There are other tablets on the market, many of them cheaper, but perhaps not as flashy. Don’t get me wrong, I love my iPad, but along with others I don’t think this is the way to go. Specifically because most of those students do not have internet access once they leave the school building. That means the iPads are not likely to be used at anywhere near their potential. They’ll become just the next “cool” thing that’s supposed to magically produce smarter students. Better teaching, administrators that will provide backup for discipline problems, and less grasping at technology is what is needed.

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