Thursday, October 06, 2016

iPad High School: 1 out of 3 students return their iPad agreement

My daughter attends an urban high school. I think it is minority white (she’s not white).

Her school has a mixed reputation. It’s effectively segregated into an intensely academic non-black cohort and a low achievement largely black cohort. Students assaulted teachers at least twice last year.

The school distributes iPads to students. They are supposedly essential but half-way through the first semester they have yet to appear. The digital textbooks [1] the students use are designed for laptop use, they are not optimized for iPad use.

My daughter gets a lot of homework. It’s really too much, but the parents of the elite students are tigerish. Much of her homework requires an internet connection. Even assignments that could, for example, be done on a TI Calculator are better done using Desmos or Wolfram Alpha. Since the iPads haven’t been distributed yet her homework also requires a computer and thus WiFi service. And, of course, that internet connection with working WiFi.

At this school only 1/3 of the student body have bothered to return a signed document required to bring an iPad home. An iPad that, if one lacks WiFi service, is basically an expensive, fragile, and easily stolen doorstop.

This is not going well.

We need free universal urban net access. We can’t make this educational effort work without it. It doesn’t have to be high bandwidth. It doesn’t have to support high resolution video or allow YouTube access. It does have to be universal and free.

For now students would be better served by spending the iPad money on used older edition paper textbooks.

- fn -

[1] Want to give your child a large academic advantage? Order the low cost used paper textbooks from Amazon. Immensely better usability.

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