I read this article in the Guardian about schools asking parents to buy their children iPads to support their learning.
It’s quite a negative article, but in many ways I do agree with the sentiments behind it.
Back in January I wrote an article, “I need a truck” in which I noted:
The Essa Academy in Bolton has decided that the best way forward for them is to issue every learner and every teacher with an iPad. Now I am sure that they thought long and hard about it before making this choice, but I do wonder if they missed a trick?
The first questions I would ask are: Is every learner the same? Do they all have the same needs and do they all learn in the same way in different contexts?
I then went on to explain what I meant using a transport analogy. Read more…
This echoes some of the sentiment in the Guardian article, but a lot less sensational! By the way don’t read the comments on the Guardian article, for a moment as I persued them I thought I was reading the Daily Mail or the Telegraph.
If the parental comments are to be believed then the schools undertaking these kinds of iPad implementations haven’t really explained the “what” and the “why” they are doing this. I would suspect that this is because they may not actually know the “what” and the “why” and have seen other institutions, like the Essa Academy, are doing and believe that they should be doing the same.
This paragraph astounded me
Providing tablets is not an unquestioned money saver for schools. Honywood community science school in Essex gave all its 1,200 pupils a tablet computer for free, although it did ask for a £50 contribution towards insurance. The cost was estimated at around £500,000. But 489 tablets had to be replaced after a year, while four out of 10 needed to be sent for repairs.
What on earth was happening in that school where 41% of the tablets had to be replaced and another 40% needed to be repaired. So 81% of the tablets were broken, or broke down in a year. Would be interesting to know which tablet they were using. Were the problems with the tablet itself, the way it was used, or was it because it was given to the learners for “free” they didn’t look after them. Probably a combination of all three, however still 81% is an incredible statistic.
The problem with every learner having an iPad is that it many ways it can be restrictive. A lot of things can be done on an iPad, but in some ways other devices or tools may be better, faster or more efficient.