RTD1
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$1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPads

Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:35 am

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-m ... 9665.story
Broadacres is one of 47 schools set to distribute iPads over the next few weeks. The devices for these schools will cost about $30 million. Supplying tablets for the entire district, about 650,000 students, will cost about $500 million. Upgrading schools to a campuswide wireless system will cost another $500 million.
L.A. Unified is paying $678 per device -- higher than tablets cost in stores -- with pre-loaded educational software. They also come with a sturdy case and a three-year warranty. The devices will be paid through voter-approved school construction bonds.
What really made me rage was this:

http://www.citeworld.com/tablets/22178/ ... l-district
"The most important thing is to try to prepare the kids for the technology they are going to face when they are going to graduate," said Hovatter. "This is phase one, a mix of high school, middle school, and elementary students. We're targeting kids who most likely don't have their own computers or laptops or iPads. Their only exposure to computers now is going to be in their schools."
So now some smug, technologically illiterate school administrators can feel good about themselves because they are promoting computer literacy among the young and preparing them for future jobs. By providing the kids with what are essentially expensive toys and teaching them to tap an icon to take a picture, open a web browser, or play a game. I'm sure employers are thrilled at the prospect of how much more creative and productive their future workers will be because of this.

If the goal was electronic textbooks, something like a Kindle Fire at 1/4 the cost would have been far more effective and efficient.

If the goal was to teach technology and prepare the kids for hi-tech occupations, why was something like the Raspberry Pi not considered? You know, actually teach electronics, computer programming, etc.

/Rant off

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:31 pm

That is....truly unbelievable.

So many cheaper devices that could do more. I think they are probably paying at least double what they need to. And in the end, you are just teaching children to use an iPad, something they probably already know how to do.

And Apple - profiteering big time. Cannot believe they didn't come up with a decent deal to get the price down. The markup on iPads is huge, and they have billions in the bank. One more nail in their coffin I think.

Compare and contrast with Google who *donated* $1M to get Raspi's in to the hands of people who REALLY need them.
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:34 pm

One more nail in their coffin I think.
Whose coffin? Apple's or ours?

(However you choose to define "us"...)
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:38 pm

RTD1 wrote:If the goal was to teach technology and prepare the kids for hi-tech occupations, why was something like the Raspberry Pi not considered? You know, actually teach electronics, computer programming, etc.
Because there isn't a manufacturer or reseller lobbying them.

Here in the UK there have been tales of schools being ripped off by third parties leasing them laptops for exorbitant fees, then leaving them high and dry. Serves them right for not reading the small print I suppose. Not the same type of story, but it's the same cause - good salesmen parting fools from their (or somebody else's) money! Oh well.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:40 pm

Joe Schmoe wrote:
One more nail in their coffin I think.
Whose coffin? Apple's or ours?

(However you choose to define "us"...)
Theirs. Lack of innovative product, shady business practices, over-reliance on litigation instead of innovation, no more Steve Jobs. Many nails...
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:44 pm

If this keepster going on, Apple digs their own grave, no more proggrammers that can update iOS, know how to use processors. Though i do'nt think it Will come that far :|

RTD1
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:12 pm

Another quote from the second article I linked:
The project came about because educators realized that workers today in every field, including construction and automotive education, require skills with computers and related technologies, said Hovatter. "We are making sure that everyone is able to take a test electronically. Even in construction, you can't do those jobs now without having some familiarity with computers. Whatever jobs kids want to have, technology is likely involved. You're just not going to be able to do well in society if you don't have some experience."
The level of ignorance amongst "educators" is astounding. What does using a tablet have to do with the technology used by auto mechanics to diagnose car trouble or construction workers to manage a project? My 6 year old daughter has been using my Android tablet on her own to play games, watch movies and take pictures for over a year, there's nothing to really learn, just tap the screen (I also have her using Sugar on one of my RasPis). It's as if educators are at a loss as to what "learning technology" actually means. The fact that 30 year bonds are being used to finance the purchase of devices with a 3-4 year useful lifespan demonstrates an equal ignorance of business/finance on their part.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 1:59 pm

RTD1 wrote:It's as if educators are at a loss as to what "learning technology" actually means.
This reminds me of the many tales I've heard here in the UK, of people who were led to believe that getting a qualification in clicking menus in the Microsoft Office suite would enable them to make video games for a living. That's left many disappointed, misled people, I'm certain.

The ignorance on the part of those types of educators is unfair on those who are eager to learn, better themselves, and go far.
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:18 pm

LemmeFatale wrote:
RTD1 wrote:It's as if educators are at a loss as to what "learning technology" actually means.
This reminds me of the many tales I've heard here in the UK, of people who were led to believe that getting a qualification in clicking menus in the Microsoft Office suite would enable them to make video games for a living. That's left many disappointed, misled people, I'm certain.

The ignorance on the part of those types of educators is unfair on those who are eager to learn, better themselves, and go far.
I thought of that as I was posting this.

At least teaching people Word, Excel, and Powerpoint equips them with somewhat of a skill (albeit an extremely limited one).

Teaching them to open a web browser, play a game, take a picture, open an eBook, or use any other "app" on an iPad isn't providing them with any skill whatsoever, and they'd have figured it all out themselves in under 5 minutes anyway. This is a colossal waste of time, money, and effort, even before taking into account how many of these devices will get lost, broken, or stolen in the first month.

A billion dollars spread across 650k students, imagine how that money could have been better utilized. And how does one spend $500 million on providing WiFi access in 47 schools?

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:34 pm

In my high school class we tried ipads once, it was full of photos people using them before me made, and in no time everyone with an apple id (my class is full of brats) figured out how to get past the blokkade.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:09 pm

RTD1 wrote:At least teaching people Word, Excel, and Powerpoint equips them with somewhat of a skill (albeit an extremely limited one).

Teaching them to open a web browser, play a game, take a picture, open an eBook, or use any other "app" on an iPad isn't providing them with any skill whatsoever, and they'd have figured it all out themselves in under 5 minutes anyway.
That is true, I agree, although a lot of the things about the Microsoft Office suite can be learned pretty quickly as well - as far as I know, there's certainly not enough to them to spend multiple years on them, but I know that's another matter that's beyond the scope of this thread. :P
This is a colossal waste of time, money, and effort, even before taking into account how many of these devices will get lost, broken, or stolen in the first month.
It makes me cringe, honestly. I can't even imagine how anyone with even the faintest inkling of the sorts of knowledge these youngsters will need in the future could think that using iPads to supposedly teach computing principles is a good idea...

That's what stuns me about this, possibly more than the frightening amounts of money concerned - clearly there is some awareness there that such knowledge will be needed, just apparently no accompanying clue about how best to teach it.
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:36 pm

This is disgusting... Why?! iPads of all things, if they were Android devices then at least they would have some ability to program Apps.

YOU COULD BUY 25 MILLION RASPBERRY PIS FOR THAT!

Eugh... There is no educating some people...

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OtherCrashOverride
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:54 pm

RTD1 wrote:why was something like the Raspberry Pi not considered?
raspberrypiguy1 wrote:Why?! iPads of all things, if they were Android devices then at least they would have some ability to program Apps.
Because both would be considered child abuse under our laws! :lol:


Yeah, this is more about fanaticism than anything else. Schools have now had computers in them for decades. The end result has been that we are still right where we are today in regards to STEM.

Is there any scientific data that shows any measurable impact the Raspberry Pi has had on STEM?

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Fri Aug 30, 2013 12:08 am

That's another generation wasted IMO :(

However, the RPi is aimed at a younger generation and if the Foundation gets (word of) their educational stuff out, I'm sure we'll see an upswing on the not-so-early adopters making the switch towards the RPi. I'm afraid the current generation is a write-off, let's focus on the next one instead. :)

Well, there's always hope. And I'm gladly proven wrong on this ;) :mrgreen:

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:28 am

OtherCrashOverride wrote: Is there any scientific data that shows any measurable impact the Raspberry Pi has had on STEM?
What do you mean by 'scientific data'? Do you mean surveys to see whether the Raspberry has helped in any of the STEM subjects? What is your definition of 'impact'? Or of results?

I think that is unlikely as yet, there won't be any measurable impact until the end of the next school year, proving we get all the educational material up and running and out there. If nothing else, the Raspi has certainly sparked debate (along with Eric Schmidt's comments last year), so it could be argued its most important impact has already occurred!
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:53 pm

jamesh wrote:I think that is unlikely as yet, there won't be any measurable impact until the end of the next school year, proving we get all the educational material up and running and out there.
I assume "proving" should have been "providing".

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:47 am

jamesh wrote:What do you mean by 'scientific data'?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
[Edit]
What is your definition of 'impact'? Or of results?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_significance
When examining statistical significance of the relationship between two variables, there is a risk of concluding there is a relationship in the population when no such relationship exists.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Sat Aug 31, 2013 10:30 am

OtherCrashOverride wrote:
jamesh wrote:What do you mean by 'scientific data'?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method
To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.
[Edit]
What is your definition of 'impact'? Or of results?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_significance
When examining statistical significance of the relationship between two variables, there is a risk of concluding there is a relationship in the population when no such relationship exists.
Not interested in Wikipedia definitions, wanted what YOU thought was necessary to show that the Raspi has made an impact.
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:15 pm

I think this is misguided and foolish on the part of some and a cynical adventure for others. For me the main argument against equipping schools with consumer items like this is that the deepest, most fundamental lesson it teaches to children is to 'consume' with a much dimished aspect of 'creating'.
I dont know the whole story here, perhaps this astronmical seeming figure is just a small part of an even more astronomical figure (it must be surely) that is being invested into providing a well rounded education. I dont know.

(incidentally there has been a lot of questions asked here about the effectiveness of things like tablets in education. I'm anecdotally aware of two investigations one sponsored by Apple and another by HP (or was it Acer, anyway...) but even after hearing from advocates in discussions I am still unaware of any compelling evidence. But then learning is by nature qualitative in spite of all our best efforts to measure it scientifically)

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:30 pm

Ravenous wrote:Here in the UK there have been tales of schools being ripped off by third parties leasing them laptops for exorbitant fees, then leaving them high and dry. Serves them right for not reading the small print I suppose. Not the same type of story, but it's the same cause - good salesmen parting fools from their (or somebody else's) money! Oh well.
Actually we are often backed into a corner and pretty much all but forced to enter rip off contracts. The market is supposed to work in our favour but too frequently it's the other way around. Ach, I'm shutting up before I start ranting.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:35 pm

jamesh wrote:Not interested in Wikipedia definitions, wanted what YOU thought was necessary to show that the Raspi has made an impact.
At the very least I hoped there would be forums and threads with enthusiastic youth showing vigor and excitement for their discoveries and adventures in learning that 'went viral'. This, however, is as subjective, biased, and un-scientific as any other 'data' presented so far regarding the effectiveness of a $35 device on STEM education. More 'informal analysis' (and that is being generous) shows that the programming sections of this forum see little activity.

None of the above is meant as a condemnation of the device or the Foundation. It is meant in response to the context of this thread which to me is: Why should I spend my tax dollars on iPads? The answer seems to be, at best, simply that it is the lesser of the evils. I would still like to see justification of this investment in education in some 'cold, hard facts'. Anything that would show iPads (or Pi) makes any meaningful* difference in STEM. Is it possible that money and other resources is better spent on something else (or not at all)?

*if we spent $1 billion so that 1 child would go on to work in STEM areas, I do not consider that metric 'meaningful'.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:01 am

morphy_richards wrote:I think this is misguided and foolish on the part of some and a cynical adventure for others. For me the main argument against equipping schools with consumer items like this is that the deepest, most fundamental lesson it teaches to children is to 'consume' with a much dimished aspect of 'creating'.
Yep, Rob Bishop called the Pi the "anti-ipad" in one of his presentations 8-)


While apple seeks to hide the internals, encourages casual media consumption and hampers creation,
the Pi urges you to tinker and modify - though perhaps too much ?

One way they sell the idea of ipads is by putting textbooks etc on them - though a kindle each would work better for that !

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:12 am

OtherCrashOverride wrote:
jamesh wrote:Not interested in Wikipedia definitions, wanted what YOU thought was necessary to show that the Raspi has made an impact.
At the very least I hoped there would be forums and threads with enthusiastic youth showing vigor and excitement for their discoveries and adventures in learning that 'went viral'. This, however, is as subjective, biased, and un-scientific as any other 'data' presented so far regarding the effectiveness of a $35 device on STEM education. More 'informal analysis' (and that is being generous) shows that the programming sections of this forum see little activity.
There is surprisingly little activity in those forums, but then, there are also places like StackOverride and others where the majority of questions will already have been asked anyway, and answers found with a Google search. I rarely have to ask a questions nowadays, a search almost always find an answer. I think to get a better idea, a Google search over Raspi blogs would be a better metric. Find out what people are actually doing.

I've also been surprised on where Raspi questions are asked. Someone, for example, posted me a link to a Raspi camera question he had seen on LinkedIn. Why LinkedIn? Surely the better place to ask Raspi camera questions is right here! Remember, 2M Raspi sold, only 67576 members here.

Perhaps Google metrics on the number of searches made for Raspberry Pi would be a better bet!
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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:18 pm

mikerr wrote:
morphy_richards wrote:I think this is misguided and foolish on the part of some and a cynical adventure for others. For me the main argument against equipping schools with consumer items like this is that the deepest, most fundamental lesson it teaches to children is to 'consume' with a much dimished aspect of 'creating'.
Yep, Rob Bishop called the Pi the "anti-ipad" in one of his presentations 8-)


While apple seeks to hide the internals, encourages casual media consumption and hampers creation,
the Pi urges you to tinker and modify - though perhaps too much ?

One way they sell the idea of ipads is by putting textbooks etc on them - though a kindle each would work better for that !
It seems like there are three main use cases here.

First is electronic textbooks. Hands down, a Kindle Fire, which can be had for $159-$199 depending on model and specs, beats the $678 iPad in the above article in every way imaginable.

Second is online assignment completion and test taking. Device hardware is largely irrelevant here. You install Blackboard or Moodle on a server, configure it, customize your curricula, and students can then access it from any device anywhere. If there is a concern that lower income students may not have a PC at home to access the site, there are cheaper ways of addressing the problem than $678 iPads for every student.

The final one is more of an objective than a use case, and a very vague one at that. "Put more technology in the classroom and make the kids technologically literate to prepare them for the work world." Unfortunately, a lot of administrator types think that by tackling the first two use cases you automatically achieve this objective. This is wrongheaded and backwards. You need to actually teach this as a subject, like any other. Then you purchase the "materials" for the class like any other, just as you purchase the materials for a chemistry class after the curriculum has been determined.

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Re: $1 billion to equip a single US school district with iPa

Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:50 pm

jamesh wrote:Not interested in Wikipedia definitions, wanted what YOU thought
Every teenager knows that Wikipedia is the only definitive source of information. Why would they want to think for themselves?

My teenage child's answer to most questions is "Google it".

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