More schools looking at the iPad as an educational tool

While many schools around the nation have adopted and maintained a one to one ratio of laptops to students, very few have moved to tablets like the iPad. As part of a pilot program, Roslyn High School in Long Island, New York is testing the iPad as a replacement for text books, according to the New York Times

For now, they have purchased and deployed 47 iPads to students in two humanities classes. They are to use the iPad at school and home for the school year as an educational tool and a replacement for textbooks in the classroom. Assuming the pilot program is successful, they plan to give all 1100 students in the district an iPad to use during the school year. The school paid $750 per iPad so the project is a very expensive endeavor.

Larry Reiff, an English teacher at Roslyn High School, says that he posts all his class materials online and that the iPad helps to break down the four walls of the classroom. He went on to say that he believes the program will lead to a higher rate of students actually completing their homework. They won't have any excuse to not get an assignment done because the materials are available where ever they are, assuming they have access to the internet. 

Researchers are questioning the use of iPads in the classroom as they say there is very little evidence machines such as the iPad offer any advantage over a traditional lecture with pen, paper and a book. Some are also questioning whether the iPad is the best choice with many other lower cost tablets available as well. 

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Absolutely ludicrous. Kids in the past have managed to learn without fancy tech. You know why? Because education was highly valued at the time, parents were wise to enforce better educational habits, and there weren't so many easy shortcuts you could take to graduate easily. Nowadays, most kids will just want to play games, text, and all that other nonsense then concentrate on their studies. Many parents are failing to keep up with their child's grades and attending conferences because they feel they're too busy for that. There are many safety nets for those who fail repeatedly, that they can cruise to graduation without having to do too much.

Technology is great, and it definitely can help enhance education. But only if technology is used wisely, can you expect improvements. Buying iPads at $750 each? That's just plain dumb, even if educational-based apps were set-up. The money should have gone invested into laptops that are much more capable of doing further tasks, especially learning advance desktop programs and getting students familiar with Microsoft Office and such.

iPads and such should be considered as extra enhanced tools for personal use only. It shouldn't be required; just a nice extra for any student who chooses to buy one. Otherwise, it's a huge waste of money especially at a time when most states are bleeding dry and money is much needed for other stuff.

yeah its a stupid trend, our district wont buy new books, heck they still have the same ones we had when I was there 13yrs ago..... the very same books.... and you do have to buy more books as our district found out... since you can't just pass the books from class to class over the years / semesters you have to license a book for each student since they have their own iPad... as they go through you have to get new licenses it just gets stupid as they found out... so a book that cost them $200 over 5 years now cost them 1,000 - 2,000 if they have one or two semesters of classes in a year...

then our district is still running windows 98 on some systems and windows xp on others..... and they want to jump right to iPads with no upgrading of other hardware.... on top of that they have no wireless network in place, so the cost of that had to be accounted in to make a better use of the device...

I think they came out with a price of about $3.5 million dollars to get all the students iPads plus a new wireless network and a couple more million to buy digital books..... talk about a waste of money when there are much better ways to teach then running to tech for everything

in the end they said they'd have to raise property taxes to pay for it (our schools here are paid for by real estate taxes) and people are NOT happy about this

http://www.roslynschools.org/a/rhs/rhs.htm

Bad move bud. all you can do on that pad is what is designed for that pad and that has to approved by apple. What sort of educational developer is going to target a single closed platform device?

Give it a year and those pads will be showing up on ebay for 12 bucks while the students are stealing wood from hardware stores so they can make... i dunno, chairs or somthing

Looking at the pic on the website of the principal I'd say that cheesy grin reflects his cheesy new slogan for the school "we have ipads" real Smooth muppet.

I support tech in schools to the max but this is a bad bad move

Auzeras said,
http://www.roslynschools.org/a/rhs/rhs.htm
What sort of educational developer is going to target a single closed platform device?

http://www.pearsoned.com/press...rs-and-it-professionals.htm

how bout the one of the biggest ones in the USA? If they sold them on ebay for any amount then they are pretty retarded. It is impossible to make money off of selling the devices they are giving because a. they wont sell for full price and b. the school with bill the parents for the lost device for the full price. On top of that, the kid would go to juvi if caught because it would fall into "destruction of government property"

Awesome... no more real interaction with other people, no more afterschool activities, no more teachers, no more chairs and desks... all the budget for an ipad. This is the future (please... give me the past).

My kid goes to a private school and they announced a few months ago that next year...they will issue out Ipads to the kids and use them for homework..or a teaching tool.

Only thing I worry about is what happens if these kids get their ipads stolen..or given to someone and it gets lost?

texasghost said,
My kid goes to a private school and they announced a few months ago that next year...they will issue out Ipads to the kids and use them for homework..or a teaching tool.

Only thing I worry about is what happens if these kids get their ipads stolen..or given to someone and it gets lost?


The same thing that happens when a kid loses a book that was issues by the school. Their transcripts get held until they pay for the lost device.

One major plus to this is that if more schools start investing in ebooks instead of physical books, prices will finally come down bringing massive savings to schools to keep materials up to date. The reason most schools have out of date books is not because of the publisher being slow, it is because the schools don't want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year replacing books for the next class. This in turn leads the publishers to raise the price of books knowing they won't get a repeat sell for years from any one school. Instead of paying $100 a year to replace a book every year, you pay $500 to replace that one book because the publisher doesn't expect you to come back for 5 years. Publishers already sell Ebooks much cheaper than physical books. My accounting book last semester was $50 for the Ebook version and $300 for the physical version. Pearson already published many of its books to the iOS store at prices a college campus bookstore can't compete with.

Also, since the school paid for it, its probably better that they got iPads and not an Android or Windows device. iPads are not as easy to jailbreak as Androids are to root. Also, we are talking about High School students here. They will do anything they can in an attempt to get whatever they want on the devices. I am speaking from experience here because that is exactly what I use to do in my high schools labs. Anyone that works in IT knows if you give an uneducated person a computer, they will find a way to break it. A Windows device is just to easy to break and get viruses all over it. Instead of having one IT guy that runs the whole school, you would need a couple dozen to keep students from completely trashing their devices. Do the math behind that. Spend the extra $300 on the device for a moderately sized school of about 600 kids. That's $180,000 you spend extra as opposed to an Android or Windows device. That sounds bad until you figure out how much it costs to maintain an IT staff of just 10 people. At 30k a year per person, 10 people cost the school $300,000 a year. Android devices, while more secure, has an app store that people don't want their kids freely looking. Give a teenage a computer and the first thing they will look up on the internet when they are not being watched is porn.
Apples closed environment fits better to the model of modern day schools in America where they want to be able to protect(read control) their students as much as possible.

There are special circumstances kids at younger ages that need touch screen learning programs. There is software already suited for this for the iPad. Most likely older students would not get “state” money for something like this unless “grant” (must spend by date money) paid more than half of the total cost, and in doing so freed up state money for otherwise needed computers (for giant admin costs, and text/workbooks that many schools don't even get).

I think the schools should wait about 6 months and load up on reasonably priced alternatives that arent' the equivalent of the gold plated swingset.

Great idea. My 3 year old son has an iPad which has helped him learn shedloads so far. It is a remarkable machine for this kind of thing.

We're still stuck with old Dells, XP, and Office 2003 at our school. They keep buying new laptops for the laptop carts, however they never work right (trouble connecting to the network, always) and aren't very good. They should be working on upgrading the desktops first...

While the iPad costs may seem high now, it may actually work out well in the end. Virtual textbook rentals are cheaper than actual textbooks, and after a few years it may start to pay for itself (especially since they'll be able to keep books more up to date). I don't understand why they needed to pay $750 a pad unless they really wanted to go with an upper version.

Tanshin said,
We're still stuck with old Dells, XP, and Office 2003 at our school. They keep buying new laptops for the laptop carts, however they never work right (trouble connecting to the network, always) and aren't very good. They should be working on upgrading the desktops first...

Probably because it was only 47 iPads and not iPads for all 1100 students. If the pilot program works out, they will hopefully contact Apple about some sort of bulk deal. If fact, they will be forced to because where are they going to get 1100 iPads all at once.

While the iPad costs may seem high now, it may actually work out well in the end. Virtual textbook rentals are cheaper than actual textbooks, and after a few years it may start to pay for itself (especially since they'll be able to keep books more up to date). I don't understand why they needed to pay $750 a pad unless they really wanted to go with an upper version.

They only got 47 so they probably didn't get a discount for it. When they go for 1100 for all the students, they will hopefully contact Apple about a bulk deal. They will probably have to anyway because where are you going to get 1100 iPads all at once from.

ILikeTobacco said,

They only got 47 so they probably didn't get a discount for it. When they go for 1100 for all the students, they will hopefully contact Apple about a bulk deal. They will probably have to anyway because where are you going to get 1100 iPads all at once from.

There are very capable laptops available now for aroound $450 USD and with a quantity discount, that could go even a bit lower. I can't imagine trying to type a paper on an iPad! The iPad is great for small, quick things out of convenience, but it's not a workhorse, which is what would be more practical for schools for various reasons.
I am guessing there is a big Mac fan at the school who pushed this through, as it doesn't seem to be a decision that was made with pragmatism, but rather with emotion.

ILikeTobacco said,

They only got 47 so they probably didn't get a discount for it. When they go for 1100 for all the students, they will hopefully contact Apple about a bulk deal. They will probably have to anyway because where are you going to get 1100 iPads all at once from.

But they didn't need to spend that much per unit when the basic only costs $499.

Tanshin said,

But they didn't need to spend that much per unit when the basic only costs $499.

Unless they bought the 3G base version which means it cost around $750 after tax.

The Ipad is not the best thing to run in a school, as said above no easy deployment no gpo etc. I setup Tablet pcs at a school about 5 years ago(HP Tablets) and they worked great due to it being able to gpo and setup logins etc on the network and send software to them etc.

$750 dollars per child? What a waste of money. Maybe someone should tell them that there are far cheaper alternatives for which you dont pay the apple tax. This is what happens when you have braindead people in charge of the purse strings.

the better twin said,
$750 dollars per child? What a waste of money. Maybe someone should tell them that there are far cheaper alternatives for which you dont pay the apple tax. This is what happens when you have braindead people in charge of the purse strings.

I think the main reason is to get it publicised, although I don't see why they would want a wasteful idea getting them in the news.

I might agree with the scheme if the device had a physical keyboard though, then you could actually do school work on it as well, instead of just having an expensive electronic multi-textbook.

the better twin said,
$750 dollars per child? What a waste of money. Maybe someone should tell them that there are far cheaper alternatives for which you dont pay the apple tax. This is what happens when you have braindead people in charge of the purse strings.

welll blame that on Mr Jobs and apple. Charging an educational institution $750 for an ipad is ridiculous. Then again why aren't these schools using a kindle instead. Its more cost efficient. its not hard to throw a PDF version of a text book on a kindle. these schools could also be spending half that scratch on 10" netbooks. It would serve the same purpose. I wouldn't be suprised if you see M$ or Google stepping in and dominating the Etextbook market. where they sell the school districts 1 digital copy of the book. charge them a multi-user license for the book. history books could be update in almost real time(i was in high school in the late 80's and the last bit of US history in the book was about Jimmy Carter (7 years out of office). Even though the iPad is a great device.....there are better, more cost effective solutions

CrossCheck said,

welll blame that on Mr Jobs and apple. Charging an educational institution $750 for an ipad is ridiculous. Then again why aren't these schools using a kindle instead. Its more cost efficient. its not hard to throw a PDF version of a text book on a kindle. these schools could also be spending half that scratch on 10" netbooks. It would serve the same purpose. I wouldn't be suprised if you see M$ or Google stepping in and dominating the Etextbook market. where they sell the school districts 1 digital copy of the book. charge them a multi-user license for the book. history books could be update in almost real time(i was in high school in the late 80's and the last bit of US history in the book was about Jimmy Carter (7 years out of office). Even though the iPad is a great device.....there are better, more cost effective solutions

Microsoft, Google, and Apple will never step in and dominate the etextbook market. They have 0 control over those materials. Only the book publishers do.

My 3 year old son uses mines, he has a toy story read-along book, some jigsaw type games and several flash card type games too. He's great with it and is picking it up all the time and reading along with the books - he even likes to watch Jamie Oliver chop onions! The missus exposed my 1 year old to it last night (some kids piano game) and he was fascinated with the sounds and colours of some piano/animal game that she got.... I think the user interface is ideal for education especially for younger kids or people with learning disabilities.....It's just a shame it is so expensive, I think Apple could do very well if there were some sort of academic deal for the devices as they could still make a killing on App purchase - never mind boosting the developer economy even more!

i sister kids started using a iPad at his school and his grades have gone up alot! for him its a better way of learning, and hes now above avg grades. so +1

lflashl said,
i sister kids started using a iPad at his school and his grades have gone up alot! for him its a better way of learning, and hes now above avg grades. so +1

What did he use before? Nothing? It seems a laptop/netbook would be better than an iPad.

My daughter just finished her first year at school and used an iPad since her first day. All the kids in her school have them and were part of her school fees. I'm pretty sure that her school is the first in Australia to give students iPads.

Funny stuff. Most schools cannot afford normal upgrades to key operating systems...like academic functions. Also, they cannot pay their teachers enough either but they invest in things like this.

Pay the teachers what they deserve and that will help educate students better than technology.

techbeck said,
Funny stuff. Most schools cannot afford normal upgrades to key operating systems...like academic functions. Also, they cannot pay their teachers enough either but they invest in things like this.

Pay the teachers what they deserve and that will help educate students better than technology.

not really i think you need to spend more on the schools, then teachers!

De.Bug said,
Teachers have rights too.

If this is a public school, the money could in no way go to the teachers. Government budgeting laws take affect where they cannot spend the money for something other than what they were specifically given for. That means the money did not cut some other area and was paid for by a government technology grant of some form. Also New York has on average some of the best funded and highly paid teachers in the nation(inner city schools excluded). The state will not pay the teachers more as long as its way above the average and teachers from across the nation will move there for its current wages. Of course New York also has higher property taxes than most other states so at least it's paid for by the people using it.

nifke said,
why always the iPad?
Why not talk about tablet pc's? because there is really more than iPad...

i think cause its basic simple and works OOTB. no need to worry about versions, and face it iTunes is a far better store to shop on then android!

lflashl said,
i think cause its basic simple and works OOTB.

Tell that to the two people I had to help on christmas because their iPads would not work OOTB, one of them took two days to get working

Teebor said,

Tell that to the two people I had to help on christmas because their iPads would not work OOTB, one of them took two days to get working

How is that possible? Just interested...

Teebor said,

Tell that to the two people I had to help on christmas because their iPads would not work OOTB, one of them took two days to get working

Yeah, i am not a fan of the iPad, but they do work OOTB.

A few questions about using iPads in a school:

- Who's gonna put all the textbooks on the iPads? You can't just put every textbook on every iPad - you'd have to buy several thousand digital copies for every textbook, when with paper books you'd only need anywhere from 25 to 500 physical copies.

- How are students gonna do their work on an iPad and transfer it to a computer? iPads don't do LDAP/Active Directory, so they can't copy it to a network share (not like it has a file browser anyway). They can't upload it to an online classroom - the browser can't access files. The only solution is email, but not every student has an email address, and liability risks can prevent schools from allowing them email access anyway.

- How will necessary apps get loaded onto the devices? The "official" way would be for a school to purchase a quantity of "app redeeming codes", which are distributed to users, and then they can go enter the code somewhere into the iTunes store and it will download the app for them. Who's gonna want to enter all those unique codes on every single iPad? It's not like Acitve Directory where you just create a software deployment GPO, link it to an OU, and walk away. It's a lot of manual labor.

Seriously, the iPad is a toy. Until Apple comes up with a way for a small IT staff (a lot of schools don't have proper IT staffing budgets) to manage a massive one-to-one deployment in a quick, easy, and efficient manner, the iPad has absolutely no place in the classroom.

Joey H said,
A few questions about using iPads in a school:

- Who's gonna put all the textbooks on the iPads? You can't just put every textbook on every iPad - you'd have to buy several thousand digital copies for every textbook, when with paper books you'd only need anywhere from 25 to 500 physical copies.

- How are students gonna do their work on an iPad and transfer it to a computer? iPads don't do LDAP/Active Directory, so they can't copy it to a network share (not like it has a file browser anyway). They can't upload it to an online classroom - the browser can't access files. The only solution is email, but not every student has an email address, and liability risks can prevent schools from allowing them email access anyway.

- How will necessary apps get loaded onto the devices? The "official" way would be for a school to purchase a quantity of "app redeeming codes", which are distributed to users, and then they can go enter the code somewhere into the iTunes store and it will download the app for them. Who's gonna want to enter all those unique codes on every single iPad? It's not like Acitve Directory where you just create a software deployment GPO, link it to an OU, and walk away. It's a lot of manual labor.

Seriously, the iPad is a toy. Until Apple comes up with a way for a small IT staff (a lot of schools don't have proper IT staffing budgets) to manage a massive one-to-one deployment in a quick, easy, and efficient manner, the iPad has absolutely no place in the classroom.

You don't need all that Active Directory complication thing, all you need is some kind of WebApp. Anyways, I agree that iPads are not the most suitable tablet to this as there are others so much cheaper.

Joey H said,

- Who's gonna put all the textbooks on the iPads? You can't just put every textbook on every iPad - you'd have to buy several thousand digital copies for every textbook, when with paper books you'd only need anywhere from 25 to 500 physical copies.

Umm why ? You need a textbook for every student then you'd need the digital copy for every student.. I donno about where you are but rarely do students share textbooks or only have one set of books in class, they most always get their own.

As for getting them on there, Just like they would setup the laptops, they can setup the iPads with the books.

Joey H said,

- How are students gonna do their work on an iPad and transfer it to a computer? iPads don't do LDAP/Active Directory, so they can't copy it to a network share (not like it has a file browser anyway). They can't upload it to an online classroom - the browser can't access files. The only solution is email, but not every student has an email address, and liability risks can prevent schools from allowing them email access anyway.

iPads sync with computers you know, bring it into class, plug it in, an depending on what app they did their work in, it will sync and let you save the files..

Or E-Mail, or maybe they aren't doing writing assignments and the like on it, but rather having their books and educational app's on it, and left to do the writing assignments on their own.

Joey H said,

- How will necessary apps get loaded onto the devices? The "official" way would be for a school to purchase a quantity of "app redeeming codes", which are distributed to users, and then they can go enter the code somewhere into the iTunes store and it will download the app for them. Who's gonna want to enter all those unique codes on every single iPad? It's not like Acitve Directory where you just create a software deployment GPO, link it to an OU, and walk away. It's a lot of manual labor.

Life is full of manual labour.
I really doesn't take long to setup an iOS device, and I'm sure apple has, or is working on ways to make it even easier as this is one of their goals, getting it into educational environments and the like.
Joey H said,

Seriously, the iPad is a toy. Until Apple comes up with a way for a small IT staff (a lot of schools don't have proper IT staffing budgets) to manage a massive one-to-one deployment in a quick, easy, and efficient manner, the iPad has absolutely no place in the classroom.

I think it's up to the school to decide if they have the budget for it.. I mean they had the budget to buy it, so I assume a few hrs of work isn't gonna kill them.

Ryoken said,

Umm why ? You need a textbook for every student then you'd need the digital copy for every student.. I donno about where you are but rarely do students share textbooks or only have one set of books in class, they most always get their own.

As for getting them on there, Just like they would setup the laptops, they can setup the iPads with the books.

Say you have a high school with four grade levels, five hundred students each grade level. Say you have a semester-long sophomore-level English class, and half the sophomores take that class in the Fall, the other half in the Spring. In that scenario, you only would need 250 text books to ensure that every student enrolled in that class will have their own textbook. With iPads, you either have to have someone managing the textbooks on every iPad, or you have to give every student a copy of the textbook, even if they aren't in that class. I don't know where you are, but in most cases, every single student in the school will not be taking the same class at the same time

Ryoken said,
iPads sync with computers you know, bring it into class, plug it in, an depending on what app they did their work in, it will sync and let you save the files..

Or E-Mail, or maybe they aren't doing writing assignments and the like on it, but rather having their books and educational app's on it, and left to do the writing assignments on their own.

But you can only sync one at a time. You'd either have to have a large number of computers in the classroom to sync everything in a reasonable amount of time (which is expensive and pointless), or you'd have to have one or two students go up to the "sync station" at a time during lecture, but that causes distractions and would prevent the syncing students from paying attention.

Ryoken said,
Life is full of manual labour.
I really doesn't take long to setup an iOS device, and I'm sure apple has, or is working on ways to make it even easier as this is one of their goals, getting it into educational environments and the like.

I know, but the less manual labor one has to do, the better. I'm a computer technician for one of the largest school districts in the state, I manage all the technology in a high school and middle school, consisting of around 5000 users and 1700 computers. The only help I get is a part-time assistant.

Despite the extremely disproportional ratio of computers-to-technician-hours, I'm able to manage the network quite well with the help of all the Windows-based tools. If I have a piece of site-licensed software I need installed on 500 computers, I can have that done in roughly five minutes. If I need to apply software updates to all 1700 computers, I just approve the updates in WSUS and they update. If I had to do that all manually, one computer at a time, I'd need probably about a dozen full time assistants to get that done in a timely manner.


Ryoken said,
I think it's up to the school to decide if they have the budget for it.. I mean they had the budget to buy it, so I assume a few hrs of work isn't gonna kill them.

The problem there is that schools receive money from different sources, and some of that money comes with conditions such as "this money must be used to purchase computers" or "this money must pay for cafeteria staffing". The end result is that schools have a massive amount of money to buy computers, but practically no money to pay for support.

That happened to us not too long ago - one of our schools received a quarter of a million dollars to buy 500 netbooks, but the agreement was that all that money must be used to purchase computers. Not a dime of it could go to staffing. Therefore we ended up with 500 more computers, but not any extra help to manage them.

I got my 15 year old brother a laptop for school and its vastly improved his grades cause his writing sucks and made note taking hard. Granted he games on it at school a bit and stuff...his grades shot up. Id say these schools are better off waiting a while to see what else comes out...win7 tablets will probably be quite a lot better in terms of functionality since they wont be jailed off n such.

Beyon_Godlike said,
I got my 15 year old brother a laptop for school and its vastly improved his grades cause his writing sucks and made note taking hard. Granted he games on it at school a bit and stuff...his grades shot up. Id say these schools are better off waiting a while to see what else comes out...win7 tablets will probably be quite a lot better in terms of functionality since they wont be jailed off n such.

It's different to type on a computer. Of course, I've seen that cripple rough drafts and revisions.

Seriously, what wacky senior management does a school need to justify paying that amount of money per student for a device that *may* help them. Firstly, looks like they need to get a new website, and secondly, the principal looks like a narrower headed Bill Gates and the assistant principal looks like Stelios from EasyJet.

Students just love to mess with technology and schools love to say they spend money on technology.

That's not how the best school system in the modern world worked in the mid-century in America, or how Chinese classrooms are suited. Discipline and structure, use technology as a supplement, not a replacement. We are getting closer every day to our submission to the internet.

I can find more info that is relevant in an encyclopedia on established facts than on the internet. Not every fact or world history point has been rediscovered or changed as some may believe.

ccoltmanm said,
Students just love to mess with technology and schools love to say they spend money on technology.

That's not how the best school system in the modern world worked in the mid-century in America, or how Chinese classrooms are suited. Discipline and structure, use technology as a supplement, not a replacement. We are getting closer every day to our submission to the internet.

I can find more info that is relevant in an encyclopedia on established facts than on the internet. Not every fact or world history point has been rediscovered or changed as some may believe.

Great reply! I teach and in the classroom I work in there is only a whiteboard, books and students. I do teach English as a foreign language though, and getting students to talk and correcting them is far more important than watching videos and reading as they learn a million times quicker and better when a native English person corrects them.

When I was at school we had one lesson a week in front of a computer (in the 90s), and I've now got a doctorate in Information Systems, so having technology everywhere doesn't equal better learning.

UKer said,

Great reply! I teach and in the classroom I work in there is only a whiteboard, books and students. I do teach English as a foreign language though, and getting students to talk and correcting them is far more important than watching videos and reading as they learn a million times quicker and better when a native English person corrects them.

I'm an English teacher too, and that's the reason for the common sense.