Maine Invests in Kindergartners with iPads in the Classroom

April 28th, 2011

Not too long ago, I explored the potential proliferation of iPads in school classrooms in a post titled, My Dog ate my Tablet. Well, someone in the north country must have been listening, because a few weeks ago, a school in Auburn, Maine announced they were doling out $200,000 for the purchase of 285 iPad 2s, equipping every kindergartner in the district. According to a WCSH6 in Maine, the superintendent of the district, Tom Morril, had this to say:
“When you look at the iPad 2 apps that are out there, from learning your letters from books, that can be read, finger painting your name, it's absolutely something we must do.”
The news clip below tells the whole story, beginning with how the group was swayed by video of children engaged in learning on a teacher's iPad. We highlighted many of the positives in our previous post, including: savings on paper and material cost, the variety of educational applications and the ability to incorporate multimedia content into lesson plans. Our friends from Maine also pointed out they are cheaper and more easily controlled than laptops. Beyond these benefits, one stuck out for the educational value it provided; customized lesson plans for different learning levels and styles. The fact is, not every child learns the same way or at the same speed, and by adapting to their learning capabilities, educators can better ensure that each child gets a fair opportunity to progress and extra attention if needed. While our support is behind using technology to improve education, it's not all shiny apples and A+ grades for the folks in Auburn. Read the comments after the article, and there are some unhappy Mainers. One commenter mentioned a laptop program and the lack of respect kids had for the hardware since it wasn't their property. Several said spending $200K was a tremendous waste when considering other needs. And perhaps the most compelling is the argument that sitting kids in front of screens is lazy and takes the onus off teachers, ignoring the foundation of group led 3 R's - reading, ‘ riting, and ‘rithmetic . Education should ABSOLUTELY NOT be six hours of screen time, but there's no denying technology plays an increasingly important role in the workplace and society in general. Preparing children with the skills for success in a modern world should only foster better results. One commenter, @indietiltheend, summed it up best with this statement:
It's a new world out there and just because we learned reading and writing the old fashioned way doesn't make it the best way in today's society.
What do you think? Should we stick to the basics or should computers be introduced at as early an age as possible? Let us know what you think here on the blog or on Facebook.

About the Author



IOGEAR enjoys long walks on the beach and romantic getaways. While not traveling, IOGEAR enjoys a great game of shuffle board whilst playing the banjo.