Los Angeles Unified School district is the second largest district in the United States, serving 640,000 kids. By late next year, each and every one of them will have their own iPad. The district already purchased 31,000 of them in their initial order. If we assume they get them for $400 each, the final bill will come to more than a quarter of a billion dollars ($256 million).
Benefits of iPads in Education
Why would a public school system spend so much money on iPads for their students, you ask?
First, study after study has shown that children carrying backpacks weighing more than the recommended 10 pounds are prone to more neck, shoulder and back problems. Reducing the number of heavy, printed textbooks they carry will go a long way in alleviating this problem. An iPad weighs less than 1.5 pounds.
Second, iPads will empower the school system to always have access to the latest teaching material. Instead of using books and resources that are several years old, publishers will be able to provide updates to digital copies as they become available. Additionally, new publishers are working on materials specifically for iPads.
Third, as Mark Hovetter, the chief facilities executive at LAUSD notes, the bigger value is preparing children for the technology-centric world we live in. Is it a dramatic change from the days when you and I were in school? Absolutely. But technology has also changed with the times, and it’s important that our school systems keep up. There are plenty of areas we can cut back government spending, but our schools should never be one of them.
iPads in Education
Currently, there are more than 10 million iPads in use by schools at every level around the world. Apple has been a long-time partner with school districts, dating back to the early days of the Mac. The Los Angeles school district says when comparing different options, they decided on the iPad for three main reasons. It was rated the best in quality, was the least expensive option, and because it received the highest scores by a review panel that consisted of both students and teachers.
Each iPad will come pre-loaded with Apple’s iWork suite of apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) and iLife apps (iMovie, iPhoto, GarageBand), as well as a pre-selected range of third-party education apps.
And how does Apple feel about the deal?
“Education is in Apple’s DNA and we’re thrilled to work with Los Angeles Unified public schools on this major initiative as they plan to roll out iPads to every student across 47 campuses this fall. Schools around the world have embraced the engaging and interactive quality of iPad with nearly 10 million iPads already in schools today.”
- Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing
So, there you have it. When the program is completely rolled out, the Los Angeles school district will be the largest district in the country to provide iPads to all of its students.
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