i-Pad Education

October 7, 2010
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Apple launched the i-Pad on January 27, 2010 revolutionizing the way people go about their daily lives. The i-Pad is a tablet that basically functions as a keyboardless computer. Professionals in various occupations have found ways to use this device in daily life. It is useful for doctors, scientists, policemen, etc. but this tablet is arguably most useful for the everyday student and teacher.

Many schools across the country have started an i-Pad initiative along with the California Free Digital Textbook Initiative. These schools are trying to eliminate the costs of text books and papers by supplying each student with an i-Pad. The idea is to get all textbooks and learning materials onto the students’ i-Pads so that no textbooks or binders are needed. All notes can be typed in the Pages app; instead of supplying a graphing calculator, it can be put on an i-Pad; and all English books can be read on an i-Pad.
Mr. Vogt, an English teacher at Roslyn High School who has been supplied with an i-Pad as part of the school’s pilot program, said, “This is the way of the future, everything is progressing. Even if you the i-Pads do not cover all the core subjects now, it does not mean that in the future, math could not be done on it.

There are some drawbacks to the program. Mr. Reiff, another teacher at Roslyn High School who was supplied with an i-Pad, said, “The apps are not inexpensive and it is hard to mark a paper up like you would do if you physically had the student’s paper. “Additionally, the issue of whether students will be able to use the app store to upload games or their own music and videos for their enjoyment still exists.
Cost is also a big issue that exists in all the schools that have started an initiative. In a school of about 1200 students, teachers and administrators, it would be a flat rate of about a million dollars for the first year of i-pads to be given to all the people. This would be coming straight from taxpayer money. According to research done by schools across the country, there would also be a yearly cost of approximately $50,000 for maintenance costs and replacement costs to transfer the senior’s i-pads to the incoming freshmen class. On average, Roslyn Public Schools spends $ 26,000 per student, i-pads are predicted to cut that cost, although the usefulness of them is still being debated.
According to USA Today, in a study by some US colleges where the Kindle DX was given to a hundred students, there were many complaints. Students said that the highlighting of text was funky and the refresh rates were very slow. Princeton and George Washington University found that the i-Pads being used on school grounds caused network problems. Federal officials have told colleges to hold off on using e-readers on campus until they can be used by disabled students.
USA Today staff psychiatrists say that it would make learning harder for even the most tech savvy students due to the distracting nature of the device. It is harder to stare at a computer screen when you are tired rather than a paper book. It is also hard to concentrate when you know that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are just a click away. Though publishers have pushed the e-reader market, they lack in the educational market. Usually, when it is time to study, phones, kindles, and laptops get put away. If students are supplied with these devices, they would be the primary source of information and you could not put that away. "In today's ADD society, textbooks are pleasantly single-dimensional and finite," says Jeff Olson, vice president of research for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, in an interview with USA Today. "When I asked study participants why they didn't use their laptops to look something up, I heard some version of 'because that's my distraction.' "

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