Thoughts regarding iPads and education

A lot has been written already about using iPads (or similar technology) for education. But nonetheless I’m going to make a few points that I feel need to be said.

First, I think that starting with the second grade children should all be given a tablet. If every child gets one, there’s no jealousy over who has one and who doesn’t. All the books and exams should, in some way, be done and submitted using the tablet. Why? Many reasons:

  1. Currently many school districts have eliminated lockers so the kids have to carry all their books back and forth to school. In some cases that weight causes injuries. Enough already!
  2. Lots of money can be saved. While some network infrastructure needs to be built, overall it wouldn’t take that long to start saving money over having to buy books.
  3. The learning process can be more dynamic and interactive. With the potential of being able to use software tools and networking, teachers could respond to students after formal class hours.

My second point has to do with the schoolbooks. School districts are facing tighter and tighter budgets. Money can, and should, be saved wherever possible. I believe that an open-source effort should be made to develop community-owned schoolbooks. While some subjects are likely to be more controversial than others (think math vs. history), with the support of the right educators this could be done.

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