If you’re a resident of Auburn, Maine, you have no choice. That’s because the school board unanimously voted last week to dedicate a whopping $200,000 from the public school system’s budget to purchase an iPad 2 for each kindergartner for the start of the 2011-2012 school year. CNN and WGME reported that not only will the incoming class receive these heralded devices, but that each successive class thereafter will as well and the iPads will just become integrated into the kindergarten curriculum.
In an interview with WGME, superintendent Tom Morrill says, “You’re looking at a tool that’s highly interactive, limitless as far as the information goes, and what we know is that different apps are being developed as we speak.” He later adds, “This is an essential tool – it’s even more important than a book.”
With all due respect, superintendent, I completely beg to differ. Yes, there are educational apps that can certainly enhance a young child’s learning process, but to so tightly integrate a device that’s intended for adult/business use at such an early age seems completely unnecessary. Moreover, with school budgets tightening all over the country, couldn’t the money be put to better use?
The iPad is great. It is a tool, but not for kindergartners. And I think books are still pretty darned important as well.
What do you think? How would you feel if your town’s school district made the same decision?