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Nicolas Heaton
Nicolas Heaton
Hairdresser father of four.
Melbourne

7 experts and 12 parents have answered

expert answer
Valerie Thompson expert
Valerie Thompson Chief Executive Chertsey, GB
Education expert

This conversation contains just about every concern we, as a charity, have come across in 12 years of helping schools provide every pupil with their own device.

  • Tablets will not replace teachers, and deploying technology in the classroom is far from a lazy option. To get the most out of them teachers will have to develop new lesson plans and learn new skills.
  • One to one access is going to be increasingly the norm so we had better get used to it! Mobile devices offer enormous benefits when deployed well in the classroom by the teacher, and can help parents support their children's learning at home. There are educational apps galore, and children tend to be highly motivated to use screen technology to do spelling tests, practice maths through games, take part in quizzes and research topics of interest.
  • Does carrying a device constitute a threat to their security? The evidence from insurance companies says no, as long as they are tucked away safely in their schoolbag. And if they are approached the child should simply hand it over and let the insurance arrangements take care of a replacement.
  • Can all parents afford one device per child? Often the answer is no. The e-Learning Foundation helps schools structure programmes to parents can contribute on a regular basis rather than have to fork out the full amount up front. And the Pupil Premium, going up to £900 per Free School Meals pupil in April, is ideal to provide for less well off families.
  • Should the State pay for every child? Perhaps, but can the taxpayer/economy afford it? The facts about our economy are well known by everyone, and in future we are all going to have to pay for things we might have expected the State to pay for in the past in health, education and the law.

My advice to Nicholas is to go back to the school and ask for a better explanation of how they are going to be used so he can make sure his child benefits fully from this powerful learning resource

6 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
Holly Seddon admin
Holly Seddon Editor-in-chief of Quib.ly Kent, UK

That's interesting, I've never heard of this happening before. My first thought is not about laziness (I'm a huge fan of learning through tablets when it's done well) but about those parents who can't afford to drop that much money on an iPad! I've known many parents (in recent times, not long ago) who couldn't afford a shared family computer, let alone a tablet for just one child.

What also of the families with several children in the same school? I have three kids, having to buy three iPads out of the blue... beans on toast for the rest of the year!

In a practical sense too, some 10-year-olds are fantastic at looking after fragile tech with glass screens, many aren't. And taking an iPad to school each day? Maybe on the bus? There's an obvious worry of theft or loss.

So in short, I don't worry that it's lazy automatically (it's what they do with it that counts) but I do worry about the logistics and the ramifications for all the families involved!

Is it mandatory?

4 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
Anthony Flower
Anthony Flower Father of three & web developer Christchurch, GB

I am a huge advocate of the educational benefits of an iPad, it has made a massive impact on my children and I couldn't praise it enough.

That said, insisting children have one for school seems hugely unfair to parents. Like Holly, we have three kids, I can't afford to equip each of them with an iPad (not to mention decent cases, insurance, the apps the teachers want them to have and the apps their friends push them to get!).

The other problem is keeping it safe, as others have said. I'm 31 years old and I feel uneasy when I need to take my iPad out of the house, it's an expensive bit of kit to be carried around and kids aren't brilliant at keeping track of things.

3 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Andrew Weekes expert
Andrew Weekes Techy engineer, father of two. Sevenoaks, GB
Technology expert

In my view if they need it for use in school, the school should provide it if they deem it essential to learning, otherwise I would class it as lazy (in the sense of being unimaginative about teaching approaches).

There are many parents who can't even afford a single iPad for their family, let alone one per child. In my view, if the school considers the beneficial nature of an iPad that significant, they should be able to demonstrate that to their funding sources and justify the purchase themselves. If they can't do that I struggle to see how they can justify it to parents. Personally I'd need to see actual evidence that the use of an iPad is beneficial to outcomes, if the school can't demonstrate that I would have to question the validity of the approach.

The inflexibility of driving students into a single manufacturer's hands is something I'd take issue with too. With a laptop, for example, the purchaser has a huge choice of models and manufacturers, at multiple price points, the inflexibility of mandating a single source manufacturer of a premium priced product is something I would protest strongly about.

There's an interesting, but relatively short term study, from Longfield Academy, in Kent, UK, that gives some insight into the potential benefits, but I do have a bit of a problem with the somewhat glowing nature of it's conclusions, which don't always seem to be supported by the evidence within. Ultimately the student outcomes are the primary measure by which this must be judged, and on that note it's fair to say the jury is still out, since there's insufficient evidence.

My personal view is by far and away the most important factor is teachers, if the iPad regenerates both jaded teachers and students I'm all for it, but I don't believe, based on the evidence I've been able to find, that any school could justify mandating that parents funded such devices.

2 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
Roberto Catanuto expert
Roberto Catanuto Teacher, Club Instructor CH
Education expert

It is advisable to ask for better and more information from the school board. Simply put, it doesn't seem really clear why and how they're going to use this tool.

My school has been carrying on a 1:1 project since its very beginning. We do not focus on the iPad per se, but we really want to tailor our educational approach to every single student.

We'll probably change the tools (Androids for iPads) and also some detail of the approach. But we'll never change the mindset: every single student is different. We take care of them, we nurture their skills and try to solve their weaknesses, we keep a close relationship with their families, we listen to their concerns and ideas.

That's it.

2 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Heidi Scrimgeour writer
Heidi Scrimgeour Freelance scribe. Mother x2. County Antrim

I don't know about it being a lazy approach to teaching, but it's certainly a bit cheeky (in my view) to expect parents to fork out for iPads. My sons' school PTA decided to raise enough money to buy iPads for an entire class, and different classes 'book' them out - genius idea, and the kids have a real appreciation for them because they helped raise the funds to buy them.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Ryan Kendall
Ryan Kendall Ed. Tech. Integrationist, Gamer Montgomery, US

Are you at a private or public school? Who told you your son he needs an iPad?

I work at a school that has rolled out a 1:1 iPad initiative. The students pay $X each year for three years and then can purchase their iPads for $1. This is mandatory if you want to enroll in our school. If you don't want to dish out the dough, go to public school or some other private school.

That being said, if you are in a public school setting, I think it is very inappropriate to expect every family to purchase an iPad for reasons already mentioned. In fact, I believe it's even illegal for a public school to make such a requirement without prior funding, approval, red tape, etc.

As far as being a lazy way to teach, it's not. If done the right way, iPad integration is much more time and thought intensive then traditional "read this chapter, do that worksheet" methods so many teachers employ. If done incorrectly--basically making the "read this chapter, do that worksheet" method fit onto an iPad--then yes, lazy way to teach.

1 Reply ( 2 ) Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Claire Burdett
Claire Burdett SocialMedia & Digital Strategist Newbury, GB

Very cheeky to ask parents to fork out on an iPad, however, not a lazy approach to teaching per se. Technology is changing the way teachers teach - which I think is a good thing - and iPads and apps are a major part of that - see this study for some interesting stats and insights: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teachers-and-technology

1 Reply Share:
Fact 4 years ago
expert answer
Andrea Brady expert
Andrea Brady Child technology support systems US
Health expert

The wealthier private school districts in our area have gone to providing tablets or other devices for every child. In our district, we are still debating the best way to approach this, because of what most of you have said: it's impossible to ask every family to provide a tablet or smartphone for every child. Right now, we allow students to bring their own devices; if they do not have one, they can use a school laptop. That is working well, in that students who do have devices prefer to use them instead of a school-owned option.

As far as the value in teaching – if used correctly, tablets and other technology can greatly enhance how a teacher delivers information. In addition, it's amazing how just using technology can reach kids when other approaches do not. We see that with our system, MyFear Zapper, as well. Counselors will use the exact same approaches one-on-one with children and have no results; yet you have the child experience the approach through the technology-based system, and it breaks through. Our kids are plugged in to their technology, so it only makes sense to use it when it can enhance lessons and in some cases reach kids who wouldn't learn the same material in other ways.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Kerrie Lorenzo
Kerrie Lorenzo Mother of two North Carolina, USA

Our local schools are now rolling out bring your own technology to school days. This means a class WiFi can utilize the in class computers and the other kids Kindles, iTouches, iPads, smart phones, etc. Gives more kids an opportunity to utilize computers for research at school. I think it helps poorer families who don't have home computers because their kids can get more screen time at school.

It's important that teachers utilize the technologies with great skill. Our schools use SMART Boards and have been training teachers using this technology in the classroom for a few years. I am amazed at the things they can do with this tool. iPads and Kindles only help to enhance this tool.

Our school PTAs earn money during the year ot buy school owned SMART Boards. Then move to maintaining them and buying the iPads to pair along with them. While waiting for the new technologies to be bought, policies have been put into place so kids can bring in their own. Many schools are receiving grants for purchasing for one class room at a time as well. It's a slow process, but necessary if we want our kids to keep up in this world.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Vivek Khare
Vivek Khare Doctor. Learner. Educator. London, GB

I hope the kids of such young age will be engaged with lectures while having a fancy toy that could keep them busy.

I also wonder if there have been enough health tests on the screen distance (since ipads are usually closer than a laptop/PC), usage time and its effects on the eye sight of such young children or anyone for that matter.

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 4 years ago
expert answer
David Rhodes expert
David Rhodes Director of Technology Education US
Education expert

I don't think that the use of iPads or other hardware is a "lazy approach" to teaching. Technology is a tool, in addition to books and pencils, that is being used in the classrooms of today. One of the main focuses in education is integrating technology skills into core curriculum studies. The only downside of this, at least for your family, is the hit your wallet will take.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
Anthony Carandang
Anthony Carandang Math Teacher/Dept Chair Houston, US

With the correct apps the ipad can be a really good learning tool for students. ****

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
JL Jones
JL Jones Husband, father and tech lover. Atlanta, US

It depends on the child, teacher and content on the iPad. I work at a school. My office is connected to one of the computer labs. I have seen with my own eyes how kids with behavior problems and issues with learning open up and start to learn when a quality teacher uses and iPad with fun\educational content.

1 Reply Share:
Experience 4 years ago
expert answer
Kim Flintoff expert
Kim Flintoff eLearning Advisor (Lecturer B) Perth, AU
Education expert

I suppose i'm not the best person to respond impartially here. My 2 and 4 year olds both have access to iPad, iPod Touch , MacBook Pro, iMac, eePC and an old Windows XP laptop. We are a very connected household - our professional lives revolve around technology. My wife is a digital assets producer and librarian in the disability sector and I've slowly evolved from a high school Drama teacher into an "elearning professional" in a university.

The use of technology in schools is important for a range of reasons. It's as much about developing fluency with the technology as it is to using the technology to learn about other things.

As to individual differneces and requirements - that's a different story. My kids would probably be disadvantaged if their use of technology was limited and stopped them from accessing the other resources (information in the form of web pages, video, photos, etc).

But technology isn't their single channel - they have numerous toys and hundreds of books of their own, as well as access to the several thousand books we have in the house. As little girls they love playing with other things besides their iPad. It's just one thing amongs many things in the world they were born to. They also see us using technology at home and in our workplaces so they have a sense of its significance.

If you don't want your child using an iPad that's your prerogative - the bigger question is when will he need to start having more mastery of the technological space? How will he acquire those skills?

I'm already concerned that kindy isn't making some use of technology - I'd be panicked if by Year One my daughter didn't have quality use of technology included in her learning experiences. If by the time she was 10 the school hadn't ensured she had a good understanding and some practical exprience of current technology then I'd probably be lining up to litigate for professional misconduct.

1 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Paul Sutton
Paul Sutton I work in a school Torquay, GB

If you are developing resources they should be cross platform, and not assume people have or can afford a particular piece of kit,

a kindle is cheap and can read pdfs for example.

1 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Richard Taylor expert
Richard Taylor Father of 4 boys & IT Consultant Bushmills, GB
Technology expert

I think its the way the world is changing. All of my children are lucky enough to have iPads, including our 3 year old. Its a wonderful device for learning simple maths using games, especially if used with educational apps. Our 3 year old has better counting, colour recognition and reading (recognising a few words) skills than any of his brothers had at the same age.

At secondary school (11+) I think it should be a mandatory requirement - all text books and the homework diary could be on the iPad instead of seeing poor children lugging around school bags that are nearly as big and heavy as they are!

1 Reply ( 1 ) Share:
Experience 3 years ago
Kristin Bennett McNeely
Kristin Bennett McNeely Techie Designer Mom Seattle, Washington

I think it shows they've picked apps that haven't progressed enough to be functional across platforms, so yes, I do think it is laziness. Android devices are much cheaper and there are plenty of apps that work on both devices...education and not, so why not alter their choice of apps to better meet the needs of the students??

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Stacey L. Sonnentag Downing
Stacey L. Sonnentag Downing Upland, California

I think the education system have to embrace technology or they are going to continue to lose students but the costs are prohibitive and I am not sure,,but would it have to be an iPad or some sort of tablet computer

0 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago

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