Labour should’ve looked overseas before launching their loans for ipads policy

Ever since Labour launched their free…what?…It’s not free?…oh ok…loans for iPads policy the evidence has been pouring out that the policy is hopelessly flawed from the get go.

They lauded it as something innovative…except of course it has been done to death around the world and mostly to death, as schools are finding out.

For an entire school year Hillsborough, New Jersey, educators undertook an experiment, asking: Is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning?

It?s a question that has been on many minds since 2010, when Apple released the iPad and schools began experimenting with it. The devices came along at a time when many school reformers were advocating to replace textbooks with online curricula and add creative apps to lessons. Some teachers welcomed the shift, which allowed their students to replace old poster-board presentations with narrated screencasts and review teacher-produced video lessons at any time.

Four years later, however, it’s still unclear whether the iPad is the device best suited to the classroom. The market for educational technology is huge and competitive: During 2014, American K-12 schools will spend an estimated $9.94 billion on educational technology, an increase of 2.5 percent over last year, according to Joseph Morris, director of market intelligence at the?Center for Digital Education. On average, he said, schools spend about a third of their technology budgets on computer hardware.?

Meanwhile, the cost of equipment is going down, software is improving, and state policies are driving expectations for technology access. ?It?s really exciting,? said Douglas Levin, executive director of the?State Educational Technology Directors Association, ?but at the same time it?s really challenging for schools to have confidence when they make a decision.?

iPads have so far been a gadget of choice at both ends of the economic spectrum: in wealthier schools with ample resources and demand from parents, and in low-income schools that receive federal grants to improve student success rates. Last fall, enthusiasm for the Apple device peaked when Los Angeles Unified Schools, the second largest system in the nation, began a rollout out of iPads to every student.

However, the L.A. district quickly recalled about?2,100 iPads?from students. At the end of the school year, leaders announced that schools would instead be allowed to choose from among six different devices, including Chromebooks and hybrid laptop-tablets. L.A. schools weren?t the first to falter: At the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year, Guilford County Schools in North Carolina?halted an Amplify tablet program, and Fort Bend, Texas,?cancelled its iPad initiative.

Look before you leap may be an old saying but still relevant in politics today.

– The Atlantic

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