Last week I commented on how I was surprised by the richness of educational opportunities the iPad presents to young students. Well, to be accurate I said the opportunities that technology presents to young students, which was referring to the video I’d seen of kindergarten students using iPads to create educational videos.
I may, perhaps, have been sucked into the ‘wow factor’ of it all a little bit, without first considering some of the wider issues at play: specifically, the cost of these devices. Recently the Los Angeles Unified School District approved a staggering $30m for 35,000 iPads ($678 per unit). Read the article from the LA Times for the details.
This, to me, seems incredible. Incredible for two reasons.
First, I think it’s incredible that a school district as large as LAUSD is supporting the implementation of technology in the classroom to the extent of a device for every pupil. Well done, LAUSD. That is what change is all about, and it’s not always easy being a pioneer, so good on ya.
Second, I think it’s incredible there is that much money to spend on iPads for every pupil, especially when there are so many districts in the country facing school closures. I realize this is comparing apples and oranges; states differ on funding, politics, etc… But on one level, the most important level, there is something fundamentally unfair about this distribution of opportunities. If I were a high school student, and my cousin in California was being given a brand new iPad to use at school, while back home in Philadelphia my school was closing down because there just wasn’t enough money to go around, I would have a very hard time reconciling the two experiences of secondary education in the country.
This article on Mashable got me thinking about it all, especially the comparison chart between iPads and Google’s Chromebook. Looking at the cost, what is the iPad bringing to the table that makes it so much more appealing than the Chromebook for LAUSD, or any other school district for that matter?