Billion with a “B” for iPads

I highly recommend the following commentary in the LA School Report:  If iPads are the answer, what’s the question?  The author interviewed tech savvy LA Unified students, who also happen to be in the target demographic for the iPad purchase (students of color in south LA and Watts).  One of the student responds:

“What I’m struggling to see,” Amir says, “is how the tablet can be a learning platform as opposed to a laptop. There are a lot of apps that can’t be downloaded onto an iPad. They’re gonna get left behind by the netbooks that are making iPads obsolete.”

For those who just want the synopsis:

  • Technology advances rapidly (Moore’s law) and these devices will soon be obsolete
  • iPads are expensive, and the software is extra, as are the keyboards, that were belatedly seen as necessary
  • The software is “laughable” (the students” evaluation)
  • Students love iPads for fun and games, not school work
  • Internet access for poor families is more important than iPads
  • It is all about asking the right questions before jumping to solutions

The author concludes:

If education is all about essential questions that are so obvious to these teenage tech whizzes, why didn’t LAUSD ask them?

“Them,” as in the right questions, as well the students who will be using the devices.

As a taxpayer and not just an “insider” I would like to understand the selection process, not just the selection result, when public money is spent.  Perhaps this is the real value of the Local Control Funding formula: the requirement for meaningful community engagement and parental input.

3 comments on “Billion with a “B” for iPads

  1. cavegirlmba
    January 24, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    There’s an iPad app that lets you draw Chinese characters – you get points if you do it correctly, and you have to do it faster and faster. In addition, you learn the pronunciation and the meaning.
    Of course it is not an equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in Mandarin, but it is both entertaining and educative (should I confess that it is totally addictive as well?)

    • Fiscalshare
      January 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

      I would use that app! Sounds like fun and making learning fun is important. Rote learning should be “gamified” (horrible word, if that is even a word). I am struggling with the question – what do we want a device to do and what technology is going to deliver that cost effectively?

      • cavegirlmba
        January 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

        Not sure about the question… Still too infatuated with what my device can do. Try Chinese Writer, it’s fun.

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