Apple, Maine Department of Education working to swap 'toy' iPads for MacBooks

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 60
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    jkichline said:
    But as usual... it's easier to blame Apple than to take responsibility for your own shortcoming as an educational institution.  That's why we still have to use freaking paper books.  We can send a spaceship to Pluto, but still have to learn off squares of dead trees.
    If a school has no existing system/staff/plan for rolling out and managing these things, and they buy a bunch of anything from Apple, then I would definitely blame Apple if Apple did not help them set all that up to help ensure the success of the program.  Change the vendor to any other major Apple competitor and the same holds true.
  • Reply 42 of 60
    jpellinojpellino Posts: 612member
    It's not so much the device per se, it's more how you implement and use them.  A 9.7" iPad with a decent, sturdy keyboard folio (FWIW Logitech's one with the white plastic case and dark fabric exterior has held up the best in the schools I've seen) is essentially a laptop, and a virtual dead heat with the sort of chromebook they're looking at. 

    Schools:  use an MDM.  Carefully set iOS restrictions.  Test configs first.  Spend a week in the summer torture testing your setup with students and teachers.  it's a relatively cheap investment.  Do not install native game apps.  Filter your network inside your campus.  Do OTA updates.  Use single-app/focus ("Guided") mode.  Install native iWork, Office and Google productivity apps which will cover most everyone's home use.  (Scratch your head why Sheets can't chart, but do it anyway.)  Enroll your users into iCloud and Google domains, 365 is 365 no matter which OS you're on. Use TechSoup and the MS student/teacher discount plans.  

    Use Apple Classroom.  ARD(ish) for iOS and then some.  We've been hammering the Apple reps at the Tech Updates for a few years for "ARD for iOS" 
    Yes, it's at 1.1 but a good start.  It may be painfully late for Maine's LTI (which has done some great things and which Apple has been touting as a success...)

    Need textbooks?  CK-12 is free and most are darn good as a text to start a course with.  

    Rather laptops?  Sure - given the choice, anyone would likely choose a free laptop over a free tablet.  But a properly used iPad is closer to a laptop than many people think.  

    Toys?  If I did not have to do desktop network management professionally, I'd likely be iPad exclusive personally.  You can get some given teacher to say many things.  I still regularly see teachers who claim "Oh, I don't do technology."  And then don't get trained.  Perfect storm.  

    Coding?  Yes, the iPad is limited.  Codea and Pythonista are impressive and completely useful, but for students on the AP track they need to be able to take the exam writing Java with the AP subset, so that's not going to happen running Java natively but there are VM/emulators.  
    chia
  • Reply 43 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,722member
    runbuh said:
    jkichline said:
    But as usual... it's easier to blame Apple than to take responsibility for your own shortcoming as an educational institution.  That's why we still have to use freaking paper books.  We can send a spaceship to Pluto, but still have to learn off squares of dead trees.
    If a school has no existing system/staff/plan for rolling out and managing these things, and they buy a bunch of anything from Apple, then I would definitely blame Apple if Apple did not help them set all that up to help ensure the success of the program.  Change the vendor to any other major Apple competitor and the same holds true.
    https://www.google.com/edu/products/devices/
    morrolan
  • Reply 44 of 60
    runbuhrunbuh Posts: 315member
    gatorguy said:
    runbuh said:
    If a school has no existing system/staff/plan for rolling out and managing these things, and they buy a bunch of anything from Apple, then I would definitely blame Apple if Apple did not help them set all that up to help ensure the success of the program.  Change the vendor to any other major Apple competitor and the same holds true.
    https://www.google.com/edu/products/devices/
    That's a major start, of course, but that does not go far enough in getting the devices (and the program as a whole) up and running in a school (or entire school system).
  • Reply 45 of 60
    Herbivore2Herbivore2 Posts: 362member
    The iPad is not a toy. It is actually quite powerful as a learning device. 

    For actually taking notes, the pro model with the pencil is far superior to any MacBook. 

    iOS does have its limitations, but the iPad is still superior to hauling around a bunch of textbooks. And I remember the days of learning info from textbooks that were over a decade old because the school's weren't willing to update textbooks even every five years. Digitizing the information is a huge advance. 

    I was forced to look up info in the school library. Nowadays information is everywhere and the iPad facilitates it. 

    There are use cases where an actual computer is better. But if the schools can't figure out how to set up a Mac or even PC with a program such as splash top that can pull up any program on the main machine and use it right from the tablet, it's their fault. Splashtop even enables access over the web for a small fee. And a district should be able to negotiate better prices for a "group" rate in any case. 

    iPads are far from being toys. Apple should have provided better assistance and tools. But even in my own IT department, the level of ignorance as to what is available for the platform is obscene. 
    williamlondonchia
  • Reply 46 of 60
    isteelersisteelers Posts: 738member
    bsimpsen said:
    During out son's journey through K-12, I saw little evidence that computers in general had much educational value, beyond accessing the world's biggest lending library, the Internet. Simulating a chemistry experiment is not the same as breaking a window with one. As stated already in this thread, the computers are not to blame.
    Giving tablets, or computer technology of any kind to students in developing countries has been shown to dramatically improve their ability to excel in school. What always amazes me in these case studies is how creative they get in integrating them into their traditional curriculum. I think in the US, the problem is not the tech, presence or absence of it, but the fact that we have decided to stop teaching students how to learn and utilize different tools as part of a learning process. The school year now is spent teaching kids to memorizes facts and preparing them to pencil in bubbles on a standardized test that will determine if the teachers get to keep their jobs and the school keeps its funding the next year. In the US tablets and computers are mostly looked at as simultaneously replacing teachers and books, instead of being a tool in a much larger educational process. 
    Your post makes a lot of sense.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 47 of 60
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    Totally the fault of the school. No matter what device is used they should be using Khan Academy. It is all about the content not the hardware.

    https://www.khanacademy.org
  • Reply 48 of 60
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    I can install games on my Macbook Pro, so I guess it also should be defined as a "toy". An iPad is an incredible interactive and useful educational tool if implemented and used properly. It can even be superior to laptops in MANY instances, because of the increased touch interactivity and feedback.
    edited May 2016 williamlondonlord amhran
  • Reply 49 of 60
    talexytalexy Posts: 59member
    There was a big push from Apple into interactive books for schools around the time the iPad 2 was announced. For that purpose ibookauthor was released with the possibility to incorporate video, 3d animated graphics, animated charts and more. What happened to this? As I understood it at the time, the aim of this initiative was to make schoolbooks relevant and inspiring again. Apparently the outcome must have been too poor to be a competition for regular schoolbooks. 

    That's very sad, I thought the idea had potential. In this regard Apple maybe should have given more guidance to help make these books more compelling than they obviously are.  
  • Reply 50 of 60
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,789member
    talexy said:
    There was a big push from Apple into interactive books for schools around the time the iPad 2 was announced. For that purpose ibookauthor was released with the possibility to incorporate video, 3d animated graphics, animated charts and more. What happened to this? As I understood it at the time, the aim of this initiative was to make schoolbooks relevant and inspiring again. Apparently the outcome must have been too poor to be a competition for regular schoolbooks. 

    That's very sad, I thought the idea had potential. In this regard Apple maybe should have given more guidance to help make these books more compelling than they obviously are.  
    A few pages in the textbook get updated each revision with minimal expense. iBooks rewrite is very expensive. Publishers were/are reluctant to adopt the new format. The interactivity and immersive rich content seems very desirable to the average person, however the educational value of those aspects might be viewed as not worth the expense of authoring to the publishers. We have one person on staff who worked for McMillan almost 20 years doing DTP for textbooks. According to her people would be surprised how rigid and conservative their workflow is.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 51 of 60
    misamisa Posts: 827member

    Teachers complained that students were using the iPads as game consoles, with one going so far as to call the rollout "a disaster." Others said that basic tasks like word processing were too difficult.

    iPads "provide no educational function in the classroom," one teacher said in response to the survey. "Students use them as toys."

    To help facilitate the switch -- called a "Refresh" -- Apple has agreed to lower the lease payments for its laptops. For the 2016-2017 academic year the computers will cost just $217 per student, increasing to $248 per student per year after that.

    Pricing previously sat at $273 per student, which is above the state's $254 per student reimbursement level. That pushed schools toward lower-cost iPads, apparently at the expense of usability.

    This is a case of "using it wrong". The iPad was meant to replace the TEXTBOOK, you know so your kid doesn't have to lug around 50lbs of 20-years out-of-date-and-crusty-with-previous-kids-abuse books.

    In this case, if the kids are using it as a game console, they didn't even bother to set it up so only the school staff could push apps to it.

    Using an iPad as a word processor, well see the iPad Pro. A 10$ bluetooth keyboard could also have solved it. Though the ergonomic aspects of a "real" laptop aren't much better. I have a friend who replaced her MacBook Pro with the iPad Pro and she loves it. 

    Also before we all forget:
    The iPad can't replace the lunchbox, do not attempt to eat the iPad
    The iPad can't stop a school bully (though it might temporarily work as a shield)
    The iPad can't teach physical education
    The iPad can't make things explode in the chemistry lab... 

    So from a value point of view, a 300$ iPad saves a school district from having to replace 1500$ in textbooks per student every year, and the textbooks remain up to date. There's no "I forgot my book" problem, a kid could forget their iPad and simply login to another one to get access to it. Likewise synchronizing teaching with the students devices instead of having the students skip ahead, or lag behind.

    Would something else be more appropriate? I believe Chromebooks are a joke, if you've ever seen them in BestBuy they have such cheap builds, the ones I saw were all "netbook" grade, and not qualified to run a web browser. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 52 of 60
    I'm a teacher in the UK and iPads are great for researching on the web or making stop-motion animations, but up until recently there was no way to profile the device for individual users. Most schools require log ins for each child, plus a folder for materials they create - or they use web services that collate scores to a single location. More often than not, I've found iPads with a chaotic mix of images in their picture folders as they are used by different classes. Invariably, things get deleted by mistake and it becomes a nightmare to administer. Most teachers do not have this kind of time. 
    When iPads first came out I heard a lot of talk about how iPads would revolutionise 'text books', which is odd because the use of text books is a rather old fashioned approach to education (at least at primary level). For programming or content creation the iPad really doesn't cut it. Drag and drop is still way faster on my make that combinations of long presses and bouncing between apps using the home button will ever be. At the same time, by doing away with the plastic Macbook I saw the Mac's penetration into the UK education market suddenly decrease. Thin and light is nice, but rugged, flexible and fully featured without 'dongles' counts for more. A slow decline in Apple's software quality has probably helped to seal the deal. The value of Mac has decreased somewhat. 
    In the end, a one size fits all device isn't going to dominate the education market. It's one that's changing quickly and requiring the teaching of basic coding (e.g scratch). The raspberry pie and the microbit are also part of the mix. Where Apple could have made a killing in education is with airplay. Along with the pencil, mirroring to a projector or interactive whiteboard could have amazing possibilities. However, its implementation is underused by most apps and without some local way of routing the airplay data, is going to be slow over busy school networks. 
    In education, teachers look for the fastest and cheapest route to achieve an end. Tablets are nice, but computers are essential (at least for imparting, sharing and discussing). More often than not though, if it can just as well be done without a device, you do it without a device. Yes an apple pencil is nice, but for teaching drawing I would use the cognitively more complex graphite pencil that costs 75p and some good quality paper to teach drawing skills. If you don't need to type something, then again writing it is cognitively more complex than tapping. Again, paper and pen win out and it helps to put children in contact with real world processes like redrafting and where seeing the changes and mistakes is essential for learning. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 53 of 60
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,722member
    misa said:

    Teachers complained that students were using the iPads as game consoles, with one going so far as to call the rollout "a disaster." Others said that basic tasks like word processing were too difficult.

    iPads "provide no educational function in the classroom," one teacher said in response to the survey. "Students use them as toys."

    To help facilitate the switch -- called a "Refresh" -- Apple has agreed to lower the lease payments for its laptops. For the 2016-2017 academic year the computers will cost just $217 per student, increasing to $248 per student per year after that.

    Pricing previously sat at $273 per student, which is above the state's $254 per student reimbursement level. That pushed schools toward lower-cost iPads, apparently at the expense of usability.

    This is a case of "using it wrong". The iPad was meant to replace the TEXTBOOK, you know so your kid doesn't have to lug around 50lbs of 20-years out-of-date-and-crusty-with-previous-kids-abuse books.

    So from a value point of view, a 300$ iPad saves a school district from having to replace 1500$ in textbooks per student every year, and the textbooks remain up to date. There's no "I forgot my book" problem, a kid could forget their iPad and simply login to another one to get access to it. Likewise synchronizing teaching with the students devices instead of having the students skip ahead, or lag behind.

    Would something else be more appropriate? I believe Chromebooks are a joke, if you've ever seen them in BestBuy they have such cheap builds, the ones I saw were all "netbook" grade, and not qualified to run a web browser. 
    Chromebooks at BestBuy aren't meant for education uses. There's a whole category built with school use in mind and they're fairly bulletproof, standing up to quite a biut of abuse, Add to that included support and device replacement warranty and all for $200 up and they are pretty attractive to school districts. I think iPads with education support and warranties are roughly three times as expensive , maybe around $700/unit, which is why trading out to MacBooks was possible tho it's easy enough for you to look to confirm. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 54 of 60
    The iPad is much more than a toy, its an amazing computer & it fills a need no-one ever really imagined. If you look at the Educational apps available, they're incredible - as usual it's the teacher. Good teachers with imagination then anything is possible. I see my 6yr old daughter working away on them and she learning things at a faster rate than I believed possible. As she grows up I would expect her to move onto a laptop, but who knows what the laptop of tomorrow might be. My regret is not being having these things when I kid. I use mine as a second monitor (duet app) when I'm working remotely and all my reference material is on it. Awesome is the only word for these things.
  • Reply 55 of 60
    you can't just hand a teacher an iPad. You need to have them trained in how to use them effectively. We do that in teacher schools with computers - not with mobile devices.
  • Reply 56 of 60
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,183member
    appex said:
    The iPad is a toy. The Mac is a full computer.
    "You're using it wrong."
    bestkeptsecret
  • Reply 57 of 60
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,094member
    It's not about the device or iOS, it's all about the apps and how the apps are integrated into the curriculum. There are far too many iPad games and far too few educational and discovery apps. While learning to type on a conventional keyboard has vocational benefits it's far more important to teach kids how to think and solve problems using computing devices of all shapes and sizes. The focus always has to be primarily on problem solving. The devices are secondary and should just not get in the way. I think that too many schools use technology and tools as a crutch to keep the teachers from having to be as engaged in the educational process as they should be. It's like parents sitting their kids in front of a TV to keep them quiet and occupied for a while. 

    I always like to remind my colleagues that most of the greatest innovations of the past 100 years were accomplished without the use of personal computers. Being a great engineer, scientist, philosopher, educator, artist, writer, etc., has never been about the tools, it's been about human intellect. Sure, the tools can free students from the rote drudgery and the non intellectual parts of the learning and skills attainment process. Using computing devices to teach growing minds to learn how to type and do PowerPoint transitions and apply fancy formatting to a Word document is a waste of human intellect and simply creates another generation of mindless business drones.

    On the other hand, the device makers are also complicit in overstating the benefits their products provide to the educational and learning process. They want to sell more devices even when the fit is far from perfect.

    The best example that I can think of that highlights the struggle of using technology in education is writing and composition. No computer on the planet in any form factor is going to make a student a better writer. Sure, computers can alleviate the trash can full of balled up paper that results from the many failed attempts to compose a coherent paper. This is where technology can step in and provide some interactive guidance and oversight to move the student in the right direction. But this kind of software has to be very good, adaptive, and must be able to recognize and infer what's good and what's bad in an evolving dialog with the student. In essence, learning to type better does not make the student a better writer. What would make the student a better writer would be having a teacher sitting next to the student as the student is formulating ideas for the composition and committing the ideas to "paper." Since most school districts cannot afford one teacher per student having software that fills in some of the gap between the idealized 1:1 student teacher ratio and what is practical and affordable has some merit as long as the real teachers are overseeing the process and even adapting the tools in real time. Needless to say, we are far from that type of scenario today. 

    One area where devices like iPad and MacBooks can provide more immediate benefits is in STEM education. There's no reason why an iPad cannot provide virtual models for geometry, physics, math, and logic problem solving as well as virtual hands-on laboratories.  Programming as a general-purpose problem solving mechanism should be taught at the earliest possible level using suitably simplified language and syntax. All of these things are easily attainable on the iPad platform. 


  • Reply 58 of 60
    A tactile keyboard is going to be better for continuous use tasks. The touch screen is ok for short bursts, but as some of the feedback mentioned, it's not very good for touch typing. (I use dictation and then edit with the keyboard instead.) This problem sounds like it could have been resolved with keyboard covers rather than swapping to OS X. Also if the kids are playing games, then none of the admin controls are in use. (I.E. Training hasn't happened.)
  • Reply 59 of 60
    As someone who works in IT for Education, this doesn't surprise me in the least.  And its not an Apple problem either.  Its the ineptitude of school administrators that know absolutely nothing about technology and how its applied, and the very small amount of teachers who know how to do anything with technology in schools other than teach students how to use Google or type up a paper in Microsoft Word.

    Until schools are willing to employ personnel that can come up with a comprehensive plan to manage technology and come up with a meaningful curriculum that engages students using technology, whether that's an iPad, MacBook, Surface, or ChromeBook, then its just going to be a waste of money and time to implement new technology.  They are better of sticking with generic desktop computers teaching the same old computer literacy courses over and over.

    I know one school district that went from MacBooks, to iPads, to ChromeBooks, then back to iPads, because the primary target was saving costs rather than what was the best educational tool.  Apple, Google, and Microsoft all provide comprehensive tools for educators to use, but in most cases these get ignored or mismanaged during the deployment process.  The ChromeBooks were a disaster not because of poor hardware, but poor planning, and only after the district brought in a consultant and another full time employee did their technology program start to "click".  This was only brought about when the school committee saw how inept the program had become and forced the consultant to come in and address the situation.  This included using Mobile Device Management to manage and deploy apps to the iPads, and using free tools such as iTunes University integrated into the technology program.  Teachers were required to attend workshops on professional development days so that they had more familiarity with the platform.  Within a year or so the iPads were considered an asset.  Lets just say that some rather high level folks in the IT department and in the superintendents office were let go after the consultant came in and did the planning and implementation of at least two - three employees.

    Some schools just get it but many still don't and you end up with stories like this.  "Toys" that have the computing power of supercomputers just a decade ago.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 60 of 60
    I find this sort of thing sad.  I've two teens that have productively used iPads from grade 5 up.  The oldest, in year 12 does almost everything on the iPad.  There is virtually nothing they can't do on the iPad.  Reading articles like this just highlight that there are teachers that are not, themselves, being educated, or that are not open-minded enough to think outside the box a little.

    Whatever tool is deployed, teachers need to be trained.  Even when they are, some will resist, not wanting to change their workflow or technique.  It is then the teachers at fault, not the device.

    It is a poor workman that blames his/her tools.
    williamlondon
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