Maine Schools Earmark $200,000 to Spend on iPads for Kindergartners

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Gutter96

My wife was a kindergarten teacher for several years before moving to a higher grade. These kids came to school with their shoes on the wrong feet, shirts on backwards and so on.... They also were losing their coats, backpacks, supplies, etc. Does a 5 year old REALLY need a $500-600 "toy" that they can drop, scratch, spill on, leave outside or have an older brother or sister take it and sell it and blame the little one for "losing" it... All on the taxpayers dime? HELL NO!! If mom or dad wants to buy one and let them use it for a short time each day that's great. If not, too f'ing bad!!

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Phantom-e

WAIT! Don't they already make technology for tots? Ever hear of VTech? They've got that market covered, and the parent's should be able to afford it!  I'm numb from all the spending by the government!

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crc32

This is a waste of tax-payer money. Ipads are not and will likely never be anything other than a mediocre pc.  It is unlikely that any skill in using an Ipad will transfer to the real world, other than touch-interface interaction.

Of course, we all know that third world countries with better education systems are doing so well because they hand out $500 toys and spend so much money on education.

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cepwin

I don't think this is the right tech to be giving a five year old...it's too fragile and expensive (unless they have a great deal to replace broken units.)   However, I do think kids should be introduced to tech...they love it and it thereby encourages exploration and learning.  What is needed is a device that may not be the latest tech but is durable and inexpensive and can run the programs appropriate for the age group and their needs.  I do agree that the voters in that school district need to take a hard look at the school board and how the money is being spent.

That being said, there are parents, like Ender1776, who have such devices and are comfortable allowing their kids to use them.  My Friend recently got an iPhone and they give their 6 year old time to  play with it when homework is done, etc.  The difference is that they own it...it was not bought by others $ and they know their child and their level of responsibility with property.

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Blaze589

1. The iPad 2's battery lasts for 500 full charges.

2. The protective glass and aluminium backplate are glued on so it's very difficult to replace the battery without atleast damaging the protective glass.

3. The protecive glass is thinner that the original iPad (not good for clumsy children).

(Facts from ifixit.com's CEO)

 

Aside from those quirks it's a good idea; hell you don't have to cleanup after them when they make a mess.

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ShyLinuxGuy

Why is it that grade schools seem to deploy Apple stuff? I mean, all the grade schools are Apple-exclusive where I'm at (the only PCs are the cafeteria cash registers hehe). iPads for the 5/6 grade, iPods for 4/3 grade (for podcasts presumably), and EVERY classroom in EVERY grade school has an iMac no older than 2006-ish...

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p014k

Technology in the class room is a huge no-no.  The most technology any student should be able to have is a limited e-reader with stylus input (like the ASUS EA-880) to eliminate the need for physical text and notebooks but not eliminate the way in which the books are actually used.

The fact of the matter is that allowing students to use technology (like laptops, or in this case, iPads) is nothing short of distracting and conducive to poor habits.  Giving a toddler an iPad in school would only allow poor habits to develop earlier; in higher grades, they prove to be a distraction from actual pen-and-paper homework.

I am a Junior in high school and I know this from my own experience: having a phone, PC, or TV turned on next to oneself while doing home reduces productivity exponentially.  Instead of spending an hour taking notes for my AP US History class and a half-hour doing my AP Chemistry homework, I end up spending twice the time if my computer is on.  Many of my peers come to the exact same conclusion.

So, to simply put it: when it comes to education, the less screen time children are exposed to, the better.

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Belboz99

I grew up on a mix of MS Dos 6.0, OS/2 Warp!, and Windows 3.1.

I not only read "Armchair BASIC" a guide to programming in BASIC twice by the 2nd grade, but I made it a habbit of looking at the code of games and other programs that were already installed on our Tandy 1000.

I remember trying to create a game that functioned like a "Choose Your own adventure Novel", little knowing that the game I was trying to create was essentially a text-based RPG, I wasn't aware of the genre in the 2nd grade. :P

I was the first in my class to use a word processor for homework, all homework. :P

But I don't really see how this really adds any value to the learning experience at this age bracket.

I have a 9 month old daughter, and 18 nieces and nephews ages 5 months to 15 years, so I think I know a thing or two about kids.

At that age, kids learn much better by hands-on learning.  It's the type of thing where they phyically manipulate an object, and they can visually see and hear how the object responds, that's what gets the brain working, making connections.

When the brain can see something on a 2D screen, and yeah, they can manipulate it, but they can't percieve the reasoning behind how the object on the screen responds, they won't make the connections.

The entire brain is simply a large array of connections, one neuron reaching out and making a connection to another.  

The child may be interested, and perhaps entertained, but unless they can grasp how and why what they are doing on the screen results in the changes that occur on the screen I doubt they will truly learn anything, or at least the things they really need to learn.

Dan O. 

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COMMANDER_COOK

Desktops are much more durable and repairable. With the right software the same thing is achieved.

They should look into Edubuntu; it is LOADED with educational games. My 9 year old niece and 3 year old nephew love it.

http://edubuntu.org

PS:

Why is IE9 support still broken?

And why is there still a publish to Facebook option? WTF

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KenLV

@Taqueed:
“And if it was left up to you only the rich would go to school all others can work in the factories…”

Wow, did you even read someone87’s post before spewing your “the rich are out to screw EVERYONE” nonsense?  The facts are that the private sector educates BETTER for LESS $s per child.  So, the “you hate the poor” crap just doesn’t wash.  Ever since the “Department of Education” (what a joke and waste of good money after bad) got into the “business of education”, our rankings internationally have consistently trended DOWN while our dropout rates have SOARED.  Whoops.  Damn pesky facts.

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astrocramp

Depends what they use them for. Could be useful if they have a complete math course, reading course, or other education materials on there. My kids, ages 8 and two 6 year olds, all have iPod touches and call each other on facetime, play games, listen to music, etc. I don't the school needs to supply iPads to teach them tech, but if they are using them in an educational way to save on printing costs, get access to better curricula, use them for testing and storing the results online, etc then it could be useful.

My inate skepticism in humans leads me to doubt the school was that far sighted though. They are probably using them as toys rather than tools.

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astrocramp

Depends what they use them for. Could be useful if they have a complete math course, reading course, or other education materials on there. My kids, ages 8 and two 6 year olds, all have iPod touches and call each other on facetime, play games, listen to music, etc. I don't the school needs to supply iPads to teach them tech, but if they are using them in an educational way to save on printing costs, get access to better curricula, use them for testing and storing the results online, etc then it could be useful.

My inate skepticism in humans leads me to doubt the school was that far sighted though. They are probably using them as toys rather than tools.

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bling581

Pretty expensive device to put into the hands of someone that age. I hope they're prepared to pay for repairs.

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Exarkun1138

The iPad is appropriate for that age group. Anyone older using that toy for anything serious is a major ID-10T!!!!

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RET_ARMY

I guess the prices of Lobsters have gone up now.  I'm sure with that money, they could hire a few more teachers, who could educate plenty of students, interact, talk to them, show them how to do it right. What can the iPAD teach them? besides you must use iTunes to load your math or english app.

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Emgtek

Wow what idiots! Figure out what side I'm on.

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schmag

I am able to get some pretty darn good deals on microsoft products for the school (they have alot of educational programs to make things cheaper).

not so good on the apple front.

at least when one of the pc's I purchase fail under warranty I can have a part in my hand the next day and the machine back up and running. I couldn't do that with overpriced apple stuff.

"well I guess it needs a new display. lets send it off to apple. I might have it back in a month."

who does that help?

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ebeale

 

Living in Maine I have a hard time believing schools are even considering this. Almost every school in the state is in bad financial shape but they somehow seem to have no trouble coming up with $200,000 for kindergarten iPads. The tablet market is just starting to heat up.  It makes no since making an investment in one company’s technology that will lock them in for years to come.  

I know Apple and education community are in bed together but Apple does no favors to the tax payers charging double and triple for equipment that’s not any better than PC’s and tablets running other operating systems. 

 

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gordonaw

Lol...if you take the money they're spending and divide by the kindergarten students, each unit comes out to 666 dollars. So CLEARLY this is a bad idea. ;-)

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kcunning

You know what else is engaging?

Finger paints.

Furry animals.

Catchy songs that make parents want to stab their ears out.

As a parent of two, I love to let my kids use technology as early as possible, but I have to balance that with making sure they're still engaged in the real world. Tech is always immediately more appealing than going out and playing, or reading, or creating something. The latter items, however, are the ones that expand one's world a bit more. If the iPads are there, the RL stuff will seem a little bit dimmer by comparison. 

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tornato7

in california, we have huge budget problems. we fire half of the teachers because we cant afford to pay them, but then we get a thousand new shitty netbooks and huge touchscreen whiteboards and 2 new computer labs filled with 28 inch imacs. as a highschooler, i would rather be taught by one person with a whiteboard and some markers than all of this technology crap and no teachers. i can play with or use my computers at home, teachers shouldnt be fired because somebody wants to give ipads to kindergardeners

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ender1776

While it may seem an odd thing to do, and I would debate the cost of such a task, I can't say its a bad idea. My son is not quite 2 yet, and he gets about 30 mins of iPad time a day. He alreaady knows how to use it pretty much fully, and has his own section of 'games'. These are all educational game, such as puzzles, picture-word association, etc, but what it helps him learn is pretty amazing. The word 'cow' came up, and he said cow before even seeing the picture. He cooridiation is improving, his ability to think through puzzles and problem solve is improving. He does many of these things quite a bit better than kids twice his age with parent who think time with such devices is a bad thing, and I let them use our for the first time. Many of the parent are converts once they watch our sub-2-year-old wiz through the device and play matching and puzzle games with ease. It should not be something we substitute physical or social activities with, but I think some time each with technology in an educational setting is a great thing, and they are to be commended for their effort (though considering most states are going bankrupt and lowering or flat-lining teachers/gvnmt salaries, I would say the timing is a bit off...)

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KenLV

@nder1776:
I don’t think people here will argue that the more tools you can EFFECTIVELY use, the better.  But when ALL levels of government are hemorrhaging - priorities have to be made.  That means SPENDING CUTS.  You want a $500+ device for your baby?  Great, buy it.  But it shouldn’t be on the taxpayer’s dime.

But we can’t argue that, because “it’s for the kids and they are our future” so now I’m “anti-child”.  Anytime you talk cuts you are lambasted for supposedly wanting to kill old people and trying to enslave our children.  What a bastard I must be.

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schmag

I have been working in Schools for about 5 years now as a tech coordinator.

we have had some ipads come in in the last year from various organizations, the strong concessus you may ask?

what do we do with these???

 

my question is. what can these tablets do that a netbook at half the price can't do? what can a netbook do that an ipad can't do???

if you are looking to engage students really any gadget works our students are thrilled to use netbooks, multipoint server systems, active expressions, and even regular pc's.

really anything that is interesting can be engaging to students. of course if their bored they won't learn, their attention span isn't that of an adults either you need engaging subject matter and even more so an interactive, engaging way of presenting the subject matter.

I don't feel that ipads are worth their pricetags with the multitude of other devices out there that will do the same thing for a significant less investment.

 

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Taqueed

This is local gov not Fed.

I don't agree that they should be suplying the iPads to any of the schools that is a single provider

if this is to be done it should be an Android based machine wiith only WI-FI. I would look into who has been donating to his elictions. Apple maybe?

I poersonally think they should be using E-Books that will save money in the long run and easally updated to the latest editions.

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Atomike

SOOO very glad I don't live on the coasts - where people live who think that this is a good idea. If you could chart the crazy, it would be two big strips on each side of the country.

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ShyLinuxGuy

I live on the west coast, I think this is a f-cked up idea. but I see where you're coming from, though, and don't take offense of being tarred with the same brush because it is true- ppl are crazy in *all* respects here.

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Datrappert

At first glance, seems like an utterly stupid idea. But the iPad may be smarter than the teachers, so it could help.

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someone87

 

I don't think the school should be spending that amount of money this way.

It's far from a necessity, and everyone across the board should be looking for ways to save money, not spend more on unnecessary "stuff".

Just another typical government idiot somewhere who asked for an earmark, and is spending money on something no normal business would do.

And that folks, is why the government should get out of schools, business, and our lives (except for what the constitution says they should be doing) and leave us and our money the @#$#^#^%$@#$@^%^*^& alone.

The private sector does education so much better than public, kids are constantly scoring farther ahead, it takes less money to do more. It’s almost like a bunch of bureaucrats sitting around, making decisions on stuff they are far removed from, isn’t as effective as the teachers and principals who work at the school every day, deciding how to educate the kids, and how to spend the money.

So sick of all this BS………

 

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BCM

There is no earmark or "government idiot" involved in this (ok maybe a former government idiot) . It was actually the local school board that passed this. State and federal government are not involved at all. I would also like to note this is not all of Maine. It is one school district.

Now that I got that out of the way. I think the idea is terrible. Our lap top program in Maine is already questionable at best. The amount of them that get broken is pretty bad, depending on what school you are at. Will be interesting to see how many of these I-pads get ruined. I am half convinced that Angus King gets some sort of kickback for pushing macs. He was the one who championed the mac laptop program when he was the governor.

For people who think that the school has 200k to spend, they do NOT. In fact they are facing a budget crisis like most of the rest of the state (and other parts of the country as well). They are "hoping" to fund this through grants and donations... good luck with that!

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Taqueed

And if it was left up to you only the rich would go to school all others can work in the factories, wait they no longer are here. But with kids doing the work we can pay they crap so maybe the factories would come back.

 

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KenLV

@Taqueed:
“And if it was left up to you only the rich would go to school all others can work in the factories…”

Wow, did you even read someone87’s post before spewing your “the rich are out to screw EVERYONE” nonsense?  The facts are that the private sector educates BETTER for LESS $s per child.  So, the “you hate the poor” crap just doesn’t wash.  Ever since the “Department of Education” (what a joke and waste of good money after bad) got into the “business of education”, our rankings internationally have consistently trended DOWN while our dropout rates have SOARED.  Whoops.  Damn pesky facts.

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