Another reader of K12NN writes in to say:
“If you think that LAUSD is paying too much for the iPads, then what are the alternatives?
Many would think that a Surface Pro (the Surface RT has too little horsepower) would be the way to go.
But now Micro$oft would pay $200 to any iPad switcher:
Doesn’t it give you pause that the market has spoken and buying 600,000+ Surfaces instead of iPads just because Micro$oft gives a heavy discount would be a losing proposition?
If it weren’t for the cost, I’d think this is a good idea. Paying for it from bonds is not.
OTOH, I don’t think it will change much in the long run unless they could prove that it will vastly improve learning. They should have piloted this with a very serious underwriting from the technology/software vendors. Why should schools have to pay to conduct a test of their products which are not yet ready for prime time as far as the educational market is concerned? To date, I don’t believe that there is one properly conducted study that says that learning is enhanced by using current off-the-shelf technology.”
Agreed — why are tablets the end-all, be-all?
This isn’t about fostering better computer literacy in children. This is about being better able to administer Common Core State Standards tests, which are computer-based.
But as it turns out, the iPads weren’t sufficiently useable unless keyboards were added to make them so.
Lest anyone forget, the iPad is essentially a big iPhone — the two share the iOS system. Unless you specifically load certain apps, it lacks several key functions that an Apple or other laptop has. There’s a lot that can be done with a souped-up iPad but it’s still NOT the same as a laptop.
You get the feeling that the LAUSD procurement process is haphazard, not well informed about available hardware, not entirely competitive, and lacks a comprehensive vision of what children are supposed to be doing to become computer literate. Buying a device is not the same as fleshing out a vision and making the necessary purchases to carry out the vision.