An iPad for every student

February 4th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A state primary school is giving each of its students an for their own use – and says government money and fundraising were enough to pay for the project.

About 250 new iPad minis were given to children starting the new year at Te Akau ki Papamoa, a decile 4 school in Bay of Plenty, yesterday.

Decile 4, not 10. How did they afford it?

Every student in Years 4 to 6 received an iPad yesterday. The plan is to extend the programme to the junior school eventually.

While many schools would balk at the cost, Mr Jepsen said it had been possible with careful budgeting and some fundraising.

A Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust subsidy will pay 50 per cent of the initial $101,000 cost. But Mr Jepsen insisted the school was committed to the initiative with or without assistance, with another $60,000 budgeted for that purpose.

So some help from the community, but also an internal prioritising decision.

I think this is a great thing. Tablets can be a huge boon for learning.

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43 Responses to “An iPad for every student”

  1. dime (9,607 comments) says:

    why apple?

    You’d think google would cut them a deal on a Nexus. Higher specs. Although a slightly smaller screen.

    do they do it because ipad sounds better when they talk to the press than just saying “a tablet”?

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  2. iMP (2,312 comments) says:

    Moses had two tablets.

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  3. johnwellingtonwells (127 comments) says:

    They would do a lot better with a low-end Windows 8 notebook which will run a lot more software not tied to Apple and has a lot more features

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  4. OneTrack (2,754 comments) says:

    And the educational benefits are …….

    Just as well they didn’t waste their money on reducing class sizes or something silly like that.

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  5. Paulus (2,544 comments) says:

    In all they are purchasing, at a good price some 650 IPads, for all pupils at Papamoa Primary.
    They will have a 3 years sinking fund replacement policy.
    As TECT members we fully support the donation as a good movement by the Board/Principle/Teachers thinking.
    Well done.
    Long may education continue to have such schools – must be galling for the Unionised Teachers though to see something positive working.
    They got their act together and worked assiduously to get this off the ground.

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  6. alloytoo (456 comments) says:

    DPF Said “Decile 4, not 10. How did they afford it?”

    In part because lower decile schools get a far bigger chunk of change from the department.

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  7. anonymouse (706 comments) says:

    I think this is a great thing. Tablets can be a huge boon for learning

    I’m just fearful of the Wifi Luddites that could stop such policies in their tracks,

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  8. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    They don’t realise how volatile the market is when it comes to these things. The apple iPad will go the way of the flip phone in no time at all (Apple shares/sales are already plummeting the world over).

    Families/households should be responsible for these things, not schools.

    The argument here is that “technology is crucial and their futures will depend on it” but why stop at technology? driving will also be important, are they going to give out cars as well? the environment too, are schools going to give out wind turbines from now on?

    Schools shouldn’t be the only future-proofing force for our children. What role will the families play? more and more parents are already blaming the institution for failures that they are largely responsible for, this will only add to that. Schools ought to concentrate on education ans skills for the modern workforce. Handing out gadgets that will probably be rendered useless 20 years from now is not what I had in mind.

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  9. timmydevo (42 comments) says:

    I’ve seen the benefits of engagement (especially with boys) using tablets/touch technology.

    You don’t need a lot of software on a tablet, otherwise they turn into babysitting devices. I run maybe 4 key apps for students, and its up to them to choose apps that suit other learning areas (and they need to show me what those apps are for appropriateness). So all in all, I might only see 5-8 apps over a year which I use again the following year (ie: this year).

    I applaud this school for what they have done. They have certainly drawn together as a community for something they feel will benefit all their students.

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  10. burt (7,948 comments) says:

    How did they do this without increasing taxes on rich pricks ?

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  11. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @dime

    “why apple?”

    ——————–

    Possibly because it’s easier to lock-down and manage a fleet of iPads.

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  12. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    Tablets are the way education is heading. Schools pretty much have to work out how to incorporate that now.

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  13. James Stephenson (2,077 comments) says:

    And the educational benefits are …….

    I’ve ben quite impressed by the strategic thinking that James Jnr demonstrates on Kingdom Rush. :D

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  14. Jack5 (4,784 comments) says:

    This is good. Further computerisation will give State teachers more time in which they can inculcate children with green wash, multiculturalism, pacifism, vegetarianism, feminism, gender equality, gay families, and why marijuana smoking doesn’t harm your lungs but tobacco smoking does. There will be a surge of new iPad apps to back up this curriculum.

    If the iPads were to teach kids programming, that would be impressive. They won’t be put to that use of course.

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  15. wrightingright (144 comments) says:

    @dime , because “nobody got fired for picking IBM”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

    Unfortunately Apple/iPad is 2014′s IBM in the tablet space.

    @johnwellingtonwells , would’ve been much smarter for them to get a Chromebook than a low end Windows 8 notebook (I got my Chromebook brand new for only US$129!).

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  16. Jack5 (4,784 comments) says:

    It’s interesting that many or most schools have stopped teaching children cursive handwriting.

    I wouldn’t mind if they taught everyone touch typing, but iPads are no use for that, of course.

    Teach a kid to program if the kid as any potential for this, if not at least teach the kid touch typing and a few rudiments about web safety and alternative operating systems.

    As for Wrighting right’s comment about Apple iPads at 2.10, he might ponder that smart phones will make iPads a secondary part of the computersphere. Perhaps they have done this already.

    Then the State school teachers can spend the whole day at yoga and phone their lessons through in the breaks.

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  17. timmydevo (42 comments) says:

    Actually Jack, I’ve been taking some self-taught lessons on code in order to teach a handful of keen students (aged 10-12)… I thought you’d be impressed, so I had to let you know.

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  18. Jack5 (4,784 comments) says:

    Good man timmydevo. I wish there were hundreds more teachers like you. Let’s hope the flexible payment scheme the Government has been talking about gives you just reward for your commitment and enthusiasm.

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  19. All_on_Red (1,466 comments) says:

    I thought this was interesting.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/wray-herbert/ink-on-paper-some-notes-o_b_4681440.html

    “The findings, which Mueller and Oppenheimer describe in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, were a bit surprising. Those who took notes in longhand, and were able to study, did significantly better than any of the other students in the experiment — better even than the fleet typists who had basically transcribed the lectures. That is, they took fewer notes overall with less verbatim recording, but they nevertheless did better on both factual learning and higher-order conceptual learning. Taken together, these results suggest that longhand notes not only lead to higher quality learning in the first place; they are also a superior strategy for storing new learning for later study. Or, quite possibly, these two effects interact for greater academic performance overall.”

    As for how long an iPad will last in the hands of Primary School children , having seen the capacity of my two boys (Havoc and Mayhem) to break things- good luck with that!

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  20. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Decile 4 . . . catering and acting like the fiscally illiterate left.

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  21. Jack5 (4,784 comments) says:

    All-On-Red makes an interesting point.

    You have to concentrate and condense to key threads when you take notes by hand, and you have to listen carefully. When you revise the notes, corrected errors or other changes usually remain obvious.

    Hand writing also conveys an element of the writer in the way that keyed-in electronic notes cannot. You come to recognise someone’s hand writing, and today a handwritten thank you note has a personal touch in a way that an emailed one, perhaps keyed in by a secretary, does not.

    A hand-written letter, increasingly rare, can convey by the writing, information about the writer’s state of mind at the time of writing, about his or her health, and of any rising frailty from age. A perfumed handwritten letter from a girl friend can create a hormone storm that few email messages can match.

    Sadly, technology may soon threaten to replace even signatures.

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  22. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua (216 comments) says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Schools ought to concentrate on education ans skills for the modern workforce.

    I agree, but what does this mean beyond mere hand-waving? I think a more specific articulation would be to say that people are going to need those skills that are less susceptible to automation and ultimately this means that humans must work with computers to stay competitive. In order to do that they’ll need some experience with using these machines.

    They don’t realise how volatile the market is when it comes to these things. The apple iPad will go the way of the flip phone in no time at all (Apple shares/sales are already plummeting the world over).

    The 80s and 90s computers I had growing up are obselete now but I think access to them was nevertheless beneficial at the time, even considering that most of the time was devoted to entertainment than anything specifically “educational”.

    Todays computers have evolved out of those early ones and future computers will likewise evolve from where we are now. Getting people on the bandwagon now is advantageous towards adoption and familiarity with future technology.

    Families/households should be responsible for these things, not schools.

    The argument here is that “technology is crucial and their futures will depend on it” but why stop at technology? driving will also be important, are they going to give out cars as well? the environment too, are schools going to give out wind turbines from now on?

    This is a wee bit silly. It is difficult to see how cars and wind turbines are analgous or particularly relevant to advancing education. In fact driving cars likely won’t be necessary as they will drive themselves. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some descendant of android or iOS was the interface that people used to control these vehicles.

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  23. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    You have completely missed the point. Let me break it down for you – just because something is “futuristic” doesn’t mean schools should hand them out for next to nothing.

    After the switch from the quill to pencils, and then to pens (and the switch from handheld blackboards to paper) – schools weren’t handing them out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry because “this is the way of the future” (they still had to pay for them) so why now? why is the school providing something that should be the student’s responsibility?

    Apple died with the late Steve Jobs. There will be no more advances in this particular technology, trust me. China will produce the next best thing, and what then? are schools going to rush out and replace the iPads with that? when will the madness end?

    Consumers are fickle, and technology is changing faster now than ever before (who still has an iPod for example). The iPad will not last the distance.

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  24. wreck1080 (3,787 comments) says:

    but they will need to upgrade at least every 3 years, so this is structural change in costs.

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  25. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua

    “After the switch from the quill to pencils, and then to pens (and the switch from handheld blackboards to paper) – schools weren’t handing them out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry because “this is the way of the future” (they still had to pay for them) so why now? why is the school providing something that should be the student’s responsibility?”

    ———————–

    They’re not handing them out. The iPads are only used at school and and left behind at school when the children go home (this is covered in the article).

    My school had a room filled with typewriters so that students could learn how to type. Using manual typewriters was an important skill back then, so it was important for them to teach it. Was it wrong for my school to provide children with access to tyepwriters? No it wasn’t. The same argument applies to iPads.

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  26. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    You didn’t read the entire article, did you gump?

    Allow me to quote “the eventual aim was for students to take the iPads home with them, but for now they were being stored at the school.”

    I hope they’re not expecting the children to return them at the end of the school year. You’re more likely to get water from a rock.

    :-)

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  27. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @ Tautaioleua

    I read the article this morning and appreciate the correction.

    If the iPads aren’t returned at the end of the year, I would expect a theft complaint to be laid with the police.

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  28. Scott Chris (5,947 comments) says:

    Hmm, $450 a pop and no keyboard. I’m sure there’s better value for money out there.

    I’d rather see every kid issued with a laptop.

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  29. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua (218 comments) says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    …they still had to pay for them…

    Universal education is a social service that inevitably involves providing things to people they might not have access to on their own. If a student can’t afford a pen I think it’s perfectly acceptable for that student to be given one. The same is true of computers.

    Ultimately it’s a question of value for money using limited resources. So like anything a school does it’s a question of usefulness. You think they are not useful, I think they are. I’m not 100% sure that this particular school with their particular needs and resources has made the right choice, but it seems reasonable at face value.

    Apple died with the late Steve Jobs. There will be no more advances in this particular technology, trust me.

    The underlying technology has little to do with Steve Jobs per se. The technology exists as a consequence of processor advancements that have been following Moore’s law for decades. Like many great inventors, Steve Jobs simply caught the wave at the right time.

    Consumers are fickle, and technology is changing faster now than ever before (who still has an iPod for example). The iPad will not last the distance.

    I agree it is changing faster than ever before, and will only get faster. That is why I believe it is useful for children to have access to these technologies. Computers of the future will evolve from the one’s we have today. It is not correct to say that familiarity with today’s technology has no relevance for the future just because one particular product will become obselete. It is with the technology of today that future technology is built and is why we have Moore’s law in the first place. It is difficult to know exactly what form factors technology will employ 20 years from now but it’s reasonable to believe that they will have evolved from what we have today and that having access to today’s technology will enable children to adapt to such technological change as it evolves.

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  30. All_on_Red (1,466 comments) says:

    “hmm, $450 a pop and no keyboard. I’m sure there’s better value for money out there.

    Would either of these be better than an iPad?
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=11191311

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  31. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    Weihana,

    I’m all for giving a pen/stationary to the odd student who needs it. But in this case, the school is using its operational grant to give ALL STUDENTS an iPad (even those from families who might be able to afford one).

    It’s not hard to put a few dollars aside each week (even if you’re on welfare) to pay for an iPad if you just have to have it.

    But you can still pass with flying colours without one. I did, and so did the billions of others who went to school before this generation.

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  32. Goldsmith (27 comments) says:

    iMP: lol

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  33. Goldsmith (27 comments) says:

    Imagine all the angry bird games the kids can play all day.

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  34. gump (1,538 comments) says:

    @Tautaioleua

    “But in this case, the school is using its operational grant to give ALL STUDENTS an iPad (even those from families who might be able to afford one).”

    ———————

    They’re not giving the students anything. The school has purchased the iPads and is lending them to students during the school terms.

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  35. Paul Williams (877 comments) says:

    There’s not a lot of evidence of the efficacious use of tablets in education, not that I’m aware of anyway. One of my kids’ schools grabbed a number of ipads with the parents support. I was ambivalent. Still am. It’s a personal thing but frankly, I’d rather schools spend money on stuff I can’t or won’t i.e. a range of musical instruments.

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  36. Fentex (899 comments) says:

    Tablets can be a huge boon for learning.

    How so? It doesn’t seem obvious to me they should be.

    If I was to guess I’d think they’re likely more hindrance than help – a distraction and mostly about consuming than gathering a personal grounding in skills and knowledge.

    There’s no way a person should be without easy access to the Internet today and not have the opportunity to communicate and research via it’s resources, but that doesn’t seem like a boon that particularly demands every kid in a class have their own tablet to hand .

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  37. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua (220 comments) says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 4:45 pm
    Weihana,

    I’m all for giving a pen/stationary to the odd student who needs it. But in this case, the school is using its operational grant to give ALL STUDENTS an iPad (even those from families who might be able to afford one).

    The school also pays for chairs and desks even though some families could purchase their own. Schools pay for lots of things that individuals could purchase on their own. But if you accept that universal education is a legitimate and worthwhile public service then you accept that whether or not parents can afford to pay is not a litmus test for whether or not something should be provided.

    I agree with you that they probably shouldn’t be taken home as it seems impractical.

    But you can still pass with flying colours without one. I did, and so did the billions of others who went to school before this generation.

    Of course you can. You can do lots of things without technology. But having the technology is better. The relevant question is whether or not these tools confer an advantage and whether or not that advantage is worth the money. The fact that people can succeed despite disadvantage is no reason to make it harder. Moreover it is largely irrelevant what previous generations got by with as the skills and opportunities relevant to today’s children are not necessarily the same.

    Indeed rapid advances in artificial intelligence look set to destroy many unskilled and routine jobs. Whereas a person whose education was average to poor could in the past at least rely on simple hard work to get by, that’s not going to cut it when those jobs are fully automated. Either we improve education dramatically so that everyone remains competitive or we are at risk of creating a vast underclass that simply is unemployable. And by vast I mean far greater than the 2-4% we have today. A recent study in the US, for instance, suggests vast numbers of jobs could be automated in as little as 20 years.

    http://www.futuretech.ox.ac.uk/sites/futuretech.ox.ac.uk/files/The_Future_of_Employment_OMS_Working_Paper_1.pdf

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  38. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    gump and weihana,

    The title of the article – school gives an iPad to every pupil.

    The subheading under the photograph – students were given their own iPad at Te Akau ki Primary School in Papamoa.

    The first sentence from the article – a state primary school is giving each of its students an iPad for their own use, and says government money and fundraising were enough to pay for the project.

    At no point does it mention that the iPads are for classroom use only. At no point are we told that children will return them.

    What makes you so sure that they belong to the classrooms? there are schemes like this one that give desktop computers to low income families in South Auckland.

    This sounds awfully similar.

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  39. MH (674 comments) says:

    Didn’t some kid die using one of these new fangled gadgets recently and the school Board tuned out in sympathy. Ye gods they’ll be eating their lunches off them,playing patter tennis. EMR and cell phone towers, what next- Milk,bread gumboots and raincoats, stick to the basics.

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  40. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua (221 comments) says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 9:04 pm
    gump and weihana,

    The title of the article – school gives an iPad to every pupil.

    The subheading under the photograph – students were given their own iPad at Te Akau ki Primary School in Papamoa.

    The first sentence from the article – a state primary school is giving each of its students an iPad for their own use, and says government money and fundraising were enough to pay for the project.

    At no point does it mention that the iPads are for classroom use only. At no point are we told that children will return them.

    What makes you so sure that they belong to the classrooms? there are schemes like this one that give desktop computers to low income families in South Auckland.

    This sounds awfully similar.


    “Mr Jepsen said security was an issue. The eventual aim was for students to take the iPads home with them, but for now they were being stored at the school.”

    But yes it appears the intention is for them to take it home. I think this is also beneficial but it would certainly cost more. But if they think they can afford it then I don’t really see why it is so wrong. I’m open to the argument that there’s better value for money elsewhere, but I don’t agree with the “they can make do” argument.

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  41. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (5,558 comments) says:
    February 4th, 2014 at 4:26 pm
    Hmm, $450 a pop and no keyboard. I’m sure there’s better value for money out there.

    I’d rather see every kid issued with a laptop.

    Agreed. Though I saw today on Noel Leeming’s website a 10.1″ 1.6Ghz Dual Core Processor, 1GB Ram, 8GB HDD, was retailing for $299.

    http://www.noelleeming.co.nz/shop/computers/tablet-computers/nextbook-m1010kp-10-1-8gb-tablet/prod124715.html

    Not sure why this isn’t preferred.

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  42. deadrightkev (319 comments) says:

    Two issues have come to mind lately regarding education:

    1. School fees/donations
    2. Information technology

    It seems to me that both issues should be taken out of the political arena where they will undoubtedly fall prey to politicians. A systematic privatisation of education through a fixed fee per student would go a long way to removing the responsibility of education delivery from the state to the service provider. It is the educational results that a school delivers that matters to parents.

    Giving each child an iPad or tablet, paid for by the state, seems to me another irresponsible act of socialism. Its a tool. Who thinks an eight year old will value it or not lose it somewhere? Then who pays? Would it not be wiser to make it the responsibility of the education service provider to deliver the curriculum and be responsible for whatever means of delivery is necessary? That means a school can choose whatever hardware/software they like, control the use of it and make sure it delivers results. If they don’t get the results they suffer the consequences.

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  43. Brian of Mt Wgtn (19 comments) says:

    Too young to start using this gear. We will end up like a few primary schools in the USA that now don’t even teach kids how to write as it is all done on a keyboard. They don’t use pens or pencils so how will they get on when they have to write something that just can’t be digitally written. Going back to when people signed their names with a mark or an X.

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