School system in Auburn, Maine to give all kindergarten students iPad 2

  • Posted: 08 April 2011 12:48 PM

    http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/04/07/news/ipads-for-kindergarteners-idea-met-with-both-approval-and-cost-questions/


    AUBURN, Maine ? Moments after her daughter worked on writing and pronouncing letters on an iPad 2 Thursday, Natasha Landry said she was happy the Auburn School Committee voted to give kindergartners the tablet computers in the fall.

    ?It makes it easier for teachers to teach a larger group of kids, one on one, without having more teachers,? Landry said in the hall of Washburn Elementary School.

    The $200,000 cost for the iPad 2 tablets will be less than hiring more teachers, she said. ?It probably would take four teachers to do what the computers can do with one teacher.?

    Landry was also fine with a 5 percent hike in the school budget, even though it would mean her property taxes would go up, if the budget is approved in a May 10 referendum.

    ?If we don?t try to keep up, our kids are going to fall behind,? she said.

    But parent Nicole Fortin said she didn?t understand the idea of giving iPads to young students.

    ?It?s crazy,? Fortin said. ?I look at all of the budgetary restraints we have. Our school system loses money every year to certain things. This is a lot to put in the hands of a 5-year-old.?

    That great divide in opinion was common in Auburn on Thursday as news about iPad 2s for all Auburn kindergartners spread throughout Maine, New England and beyond.

    Washburn Elementary School Principal Holly Couturier was ?ecstatic? about the vote.

    ?I?ve seen myself the few students who have used iPads with [teacher] Mauri Dufour, and the gains they?ve made,? she said. ?If they can make those gains in a relatively short amount of time, I can?t imagine where the kindergarten students are going to be at this time next year.?

    Superintendent Tom Morrill said he would work diligently to pay for the iPads privately through grants or donations. Only if that fails will money in the budget be used, he said. By being first in Maine, and gaining the endorsement of former Gov. Angus King, Auburn has positioned itself well for grant money, Morrill said. The iPads will cost $479 each, he said.

    Another way of paying for them could be through the newly formed Auburn Educational Fund, a private, nonprofit organization to support educational initiatives, Morrill said.

    Some people questioned giving iPad 2s to 5-year-olds. They said the youngsters would drop and break the tablets. But children take care of things that are important to them, Morrill said. Also, the iPads are lighter and smaller than laptop computers, have no moving parts and will be in protective cases.

    After students, teachers and parents go through iPad orientations, students will be allowed to take the computers home, Morrill said.

    Two people representing Auburn taxpayer groups said Thursday they were unhappy with the school committee?s decision to approve the iPads.

    Leroy Walker, a co-owner of Andy?s Beans in New Auburn and leader of the United New Auburn Association, said the iPads ?are not needed in the kindergarten age.? He called the tablet ?a toy.? Kindergartners ?are a little young to be starting off with iPads. They?re too expensive,? he said.

    However, he said, ?educated people like teachers may be right. I may be wrong. We?ll see.?

    He was less forgiving of the 5 percent budget increase, which he said is far too much.

    ?The whole state is in deep financial trouble,? he said. ?Taxpayers are strapped with all these fuel problems and wars going on. It?s not the time to be asking for this kind of income.?

    Ron Potvin of the Auburn Small Property Taxpayers Association agreed, calling the increase ?beyond common sense.? To go from no increase to 5 percent when people are struggling ?is not a doable figure,? he said. ?All the things they?re asking for do not have to be done this year. They can be phased in.?

    Both said a 2.1 percent increase would be more realistic.

    Potvin was receptive to iPads ?if the money?s there.? Young people seem to instantly understand technology, he said. ?You look at kids today, they do stuff I never did. There would be value in it.?

         
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    Posted: 08 April 2011 01:07 PM #1

    Taxpayers are strapped with all these fuel problems and wars going on. It?s not the time to be asking for this kind of income.

    Even with all the discussion about iPads, fuel prices comes up.  That’s why WTI and Brent needs to go down before the summer, or else the macro picture will be quite bad.

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  • Posted: 08 April 2011 01:15 PM #2

    moltenfire - 08 April 2011 04:07 PM

    Taxpayers are strapped with all these fuel problems and wars going on. It?s not the time to be asking for this kind of income.

    Even with all the discussion about iPads, fuel prices comes up.  That’s why WTI and Brent needs to go down before the summer, or else the macro picture will be quite bad.

    I agree but please understand, those of us in Maine and other northern climates have a high percentage of our incomes going towards heating oil, plus our electric rates are some of the highest in the nation (over 17 cents / KWH).  Utility costs are always on our minds…

         
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    Posted: 08 April 2011 01:40 PM #3

    bilter2000 - 08 April 2011 04:15 PM
    moltenfire - 08 April 2011 04:07 PM

    Taxpayers are strapped with all these fuel problems and wars going on. It?s not the time to be asking for this kind of income.

    Even with all the discussion about iPads, fuel prices comes up.  That’s why WTI and Brent needs to go down before the summer, or else the macro picture will be quite bad.

    I agree but please understand, those of us in Maine and other northern climates have a high percentage of our incomes going towards heating oil, plus our electric rates are some of the highest in the nation (over 17 cents / KWH).  Utility costs are always on our minds…

    I’m in Canada, it’s even colder here, and we’re paying US$5.126/gal right now too smile

    Signature

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.
    —Jack Layton

         
  • Posted: 08 April 2011 04:12 PM #4

    I have a 22 month old son.  He already knows how to use the iPad, access tens of apps I bought for his benefit, and simply jumps for joy when the time in the day comes for him to use it.

    I can positively guarantee, his learning abilities are improved by the iPad, along with a common-sense approach to ensuring he is exposed to normal books, toys, outdoors activities, etc.  But the iPad is an invaluable tool that is like a turbocharger to his learning.

    Sadly, the little tyke has forced me ... I tell you, forced me ... to take the regrettable step of ordering another iPad for our household.

    Such torture, such unfairness from one so young.

    Oh why doth this happen to thee.

         
  • Posted: 08 April 2011 04:23 PM #5

    Mike in Helsinki - 08 April 2011 07:12 PM

    I have a 22 month old son.  He already knows how to use the iPad, access tens of apps I bought for his benefit, and simply jumps for joy when the time in the day comes for him to use it.

    I can positively guarantee, his learning abilities are improved by the iPad, along with a common-sense approach to ensuring he is exposed to normal books, toys, outdoors activities, etc.  But the iPad is an invaluable tool that is like a turbocharger to his learning.

    Sadly, the little tyke has forced me ... I tell you, forced me ... to take the regrettable step of ordering another iPad for our household.

    Such torture, such unfairness from one so young.

    Oh why doth this happen to thee.

    hahaha, I am in the same boat but my daughters are now 3 and 7.  Amazing the fantastic educational apps one can find for children.  I certainly feel I AM giving my daughters a jump in the learning curve with the iPad and its apps

         
  • Posted: 09 April 2011 02:42 AM #6

    For over a decade Maine has been at the forefront of technology integration in public schools. There’s no reason for the state to stop now.

    The iPad is an excellent educational aid and if the pace of early learning accelerates with and through the use of iPads in the Kindergarten classroom the investment is well worth the price. The devices can be used for more than one academic year and mostly likely savings can be achieved through the elimination of classroom materials that are less effective in achieving early educational outcomes.

         
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    Posted: 09 April 2011 03:00 AM #7

    Maine + Apple.

    Maine (heart) Apple.  If only more states were so open-minded about tech.

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    Posted: 09 April 2011 03:00 AM #8

    Maine + Apple.

    Maine (heart) Apple.  If only more states were so open-minded about tech.

    Signature

    The Summer of AAPL is here.  Enjoy it (responsibly) while it lasts.
    AFB Night Owl Team™
    Thanks, Steve.

         
  • Posted: 09 April 2011 03:26 AM #9

    I feel the ipad is a pretty inexpensive educational tool for all ages.  I spent a lot of money on educational tools/toys/material on my kids when they were growing up ... now looking back, those educational tools were relatively expensive, with limited usefulness and had to buy new tools yearly as compared to the ipad and apps.  $495 is relatively inexpensive and better educational tool.

         
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    Posted: 09 April 2011 04:36 AM #10

    Pre-school early learning is so very important in all areas of growth and sets the stage for later success. I also gave my child learning tools. One in particular from the late 80’s was called if i remember correctly,  the “Talking Whiz Kids” computer terminal.

    It had a keyboard where you enter answers to different subjects like math and spelling. The subjects were on decks of coded cards that you slide in a card slot. The learning device would answer back in computer generated voice to the input of the child and had a upgrade slot to add additional more complex subjects as the child advanced.  A fun device for any child. Cost what seemed a lot for a toy back then plus batteries galore but was,  along with other general development activities IMO,  the catalyst that set my daughter on a early path to success in school. A great morale and confidence booster and today a medical school graduate of Osteopathic medicine in her 2nd year of residency.
     
    Public education is going to fall way behind of the iPad kids and some of the kids will not get motivated in class. These bright and responsible people in Maine get it.

    [ Edited: 09 April 2011 04:38 AM by mstrmac ]      
  • Posted: 09 April 2011 01:17 PM #11

    My youngest was about three years old when I bought my kids their first Mac. That’s not to say I abandoned traditional forms of learning. The Mac was a marvelous complement to books and other educational resources.

    The critical thinking skills needed for the Information Age are different than the skills required a generation ago for educational and vocational competence. Starting early with digital resources provides an advantage for children. I could write volumes on the topic. I do support this learning initiative with kindergartners and iPads.

         
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    Posted: 09 April 2011 05:33 PM #12

    Even in a cash-strapped school district, a few dozen iPads is a lot cheaper than PC-centric options.    The troubleshooting cost alone is a considerable savings.

         
  • Posted: 09 April 2011 06:41 PM #13

    I wonder when ipad/ebook will replace textbooks.  ebooks have so many advantages.  I have not touched a newspaper/magazine in years. With my ipad 2, I see myself switching to 100% ebooks over hardcopy books.

         
  • Posted: 09 April 2011 09:41 PM #14

    Mav - 09 April 2011 06:00 AM

    Maine + Apple.

    Maine (heart) Apple.

    Maine and Apple
    Sitting in a tree
    I-P-A-D-I-N-G

         
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    Posted: 10 April 2011 03:13 AM #15

    The $200,000 cost for the iPad 2 tablets will be less than hiring more teachers, she said. ?It probably would take four teachers to do what the computers can do with one teacher.?...After students, teachers and parents go through iPad orientations, students will be allowed to take the computers home, Morrill said.

    No question in their minds that the iPad is a computer.