Originally Posted by gabrielsolomon
I teach middle schoolers. They need to be stimulated and interested in their subject and in each other, not some silly device (however "magical") that will look like a doorstop before they graduate from high school. Think about it: Books were around when we were in school, and when our parents and their parents went to school. If too many are being hauled back and forth, solve that problem - don't introduce a different one. Bad books? Get good ones, preferably those unpolluted by criminally insane concepts such as intelligent design. Books aren't up to date? The lesson is that not all knowledge can be found inside a book. What if students never wondered what existed outside of their little touchscreen?
Clay tablets were around before any of our parents. If clay tablets were good enough for the Babylonians, they should be good enough for our kids.
The problem of weight can't be simply dismissed. My daughter weighs around 110 pound. Her backpack weighs 25 - on a good day. Add in the other things she has to carry and it's a problem.
Outdated books? I see that you've discarded that one with "all knowledge can't be found inside a book". So let's not get them books at all. That would save even MORE money. The fact is that keeping and maintaining books is so expensive that schools don't do it. It's sad to see a high school using science books that are 30 years old.
[QUOTE=gabrielsolomon;1801980I am not some luddite or flippant apple hater as has been hinted at in the above comments. I love Macs and iOS as much as the next guy. However, we should always question the way we use tools and technology, including books, to educate our children. Children go to school not to learn facts or information - they go to school to learn how to learn from each other and directly from the world, not mitigated by a touchscreen and some programmer's idea of what is important. Can an iPad help them do this? Not in middle school. And after all, when they want to look up a "fact", iPads will still be around, as will books.[/QUOTE]
You're rejecting something on the basis of unfounded biases. Every complaint you have applies to books every bit as much as to iPads (even more so - since it's easy to update the software on an iPad but more expensive to replace a hard cover book).
You're confusing the tool with the learning. A good teacher makes use of whatever tool is available. A bad teacher is a bad teacher no matter what tools you give them. The tool should supplement the teacher - and not get in the way. The iPad's flexibility offers the potential to support the teacher in many more ways than a book ever could. If a teacher can't take advantage of an iPad's benefits, they probably weren't a very good teacher with books, either.
At the simplest level, the iPad could be nothing more than a portable book. You could have all your existing text books on the iPad and continue to teach exactly the way you have - except with lower overall cost and reduced backstrain on the students. Then, the better of a teacher you are, the more benefits you could obtain.
Originally Posted by pmz
Whether or not children learn at school depends on these factors:
In that order. If the parents are educated and involved, the teachers are competent teachers and not repeaters, and the curriculum is factual instead of biased unreality, the kids stand a chance.
iPads are irrelevant to the learning process. They could simplify a childs organization, eliminate the insanity of carrying heavy books of which 6 pages are used, and remove the evil and unnecessary extortion known as the publishing of text books. Good things.
They are no more of a distraction than the pretty girl or handsome boy sitting next to you.
It staggers me how many "things" get blamed for poor education, when in reality it only comes down to the faults of the adults involved.
I agree completely. It's a tool - and a good teacher should be able to benefit from it. The bad teachers are probably still fighting the change from clay tablets to paper.
Originally Posted by pmz
...and as far as your comment re: intelligent design. the only "criminally insane concept" being taught in school is the one that excludes critical thinking. If you've not taught students that the only thing in the world that matters is their ability to make up their own mind....then you haven't done your job at all.
Not entirely. "Intelligent Design" involves outright fabrication and lies. We should not be lying to our students.
Furthermore, we shouldn't be teaching students that the only thing that matters is their ability to make up their own mind. If I make up my mind that I'm entitled to your money, isn't that the only thing that matters?
What matters is FACTS, REALITY, and fundamental principles.
Now, if we're teaching students properly, they should be able to discern how silly Intelligent Design is. But it's not simply a matter of making up their minds.
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman
Not to sound negative, but kids get beat-up and mugged for iPods and iPhones, what will happen to kids toting around a $500-600 iPad? What about inner-city (and suburban) kids getting robbed for one of these? It would be extremely negative and sad if down the road a story comes up of some kid being beaten or worse yet murdered for his/her iPad. Also, you can drop a book and no one cares - nothing happens, what if some kid drops their iPad and breaks it - who's responsible, who pays for it? Not every parent can afford to pay out hundreds of dollars to replace one.
That's really the only logical argument I've seen. Kids get beat up and killed for a pair of sneakers. An iPad could be far more tempting.
I suspect that in some of the worst school districts that the iPads will be required to stay at school - which negates some of the benefits. Schools will probably attempt to ameliorate that by offering all the same information online so the kids can do their work at home on a home computer, but that penalizes the kids who don't have a computer at home (which, not coincidentally, probably overlaps significantly with the neighborhoods where it's not safe to bring an iPad home).
I don't know the solution to that - but it's still something that needs to be looked at.