High School Buying iPads for Students & Teachers

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A US High School is buying 320 iPads for its students and teachers.  Gibbon Fairfax Winthrop (GFW) High School in Minnesota is said to be the first high school to have the iPad.

The school district allocated $267,748 to its technology fund to become what is believed to be the first school in the country to have the devices at a cost of $479 each.

The money will be used to buy 320 iPads with extended, two-year warranties for students and staff, create Wi-Fi (wireless) infrastructure including routers and access points plus professional development (staff training).

An article in The Journal quotes students as well as the school’s principal showing enthusiasm for many uses for the iPad.  It also points out some way the school hopes it may help students save money – on textbooks and ‘S100 calculators’ for example.

The school sounds like it has ambitious plans for the iPad – including getting all 320 units before the end of the current school year, distributing iPads to teachers this spring, and even summer staff development workshops to decide how the iPads will be integrated into classroom curriculums.

I had to chuckle when I saw this one cautionary line:

Concerns include the ability of Apple (or any other authority that can persuade Apple) to remotely disable or delete apps, media, or data on the iPad at will.

Here’s hoping Apple does not have any crazy, sudden changes of course (as they have occasionally been known to have) where they remove an existing app that is used by a school, from the App Store.

I think this is a good move by this school.  The iPad should be a hit in many educational institutions and I know I’d love to see it adopted in my daughter’s school.

For lost more detail on this, check out Fritz Busch’s story here:

http://www.nujournal.com/page/content.detail/id/512977.html

Via: Macgasm

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Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

10 thoughts on “High School Buying iPads for Students & Teachers

  1. Good idea in theory, but high school students? I don't know, I just see them opening up Facebook and Twitter apps most of the day. Unless they audit the software on them daily/weekly I'm not sure how to stop it from happening. Are they only allowing them at school (can't take them home)? If that is the case they could restore every night, but that will be a hassle.

    They want to remotely delete apps from it, but I don't see that happening anytime soon either.

    Colleges I understand, but high school (other than teachers) might be a bad idea. We will see :)

    • Yeah – there will certainly be some challenges for IT staff with this initiative.

      I don't think they wanted to remotely delete apps, I think they were worried that Apple might choose to delete apps.

    • That my sir is why they made perantal controls and my school might allow us to use iPod Touches, iPads, Zunes… :D

  2. I wish I would have had an iPad in school, it would have increased productivity a little with people using their little cell phones instead!

  3. Not sure about keeping certain apps of the device (unless they lock it down via the age restrictions and password protect those settings). There is a setting under restrictions for apps, so maybe you can set what apps are allowed to run (sorry, I didn't feel like creating a password and finding out).

    As long as this is a wifi-only iPad and is just using the school wifi there shouldn't be any concern with accessing (a lot of) inappropriate content or things like Twitter/Facebook. I work in a school and we have a filter on our servers, along with the county (if using our proxy server). All of the social networking stuff is blocked if I use my iPhone connected to the school wifi.

    An enterprising student could setup a home VPN or pay for one. When I only had an iPod touch I paid $20 or so a year for a VPN service that I connected to so I could bypass all of that stuff.

    I have a PDF of the textbook I teach from loaded into GoodReader it's fantastic! This is the future.

    • Our Schools server will allow the app to update but if u try to just log on it will diny u or if u go through safiri it wants the overide code.

  4. What a freaking waste of $270k of the community's money. Many schools have trouble affording good books, let alone iPads (where the text books will cost just as much, if not more for the additional content they may add). What will prevent the students from playing games on them during lectures? What about charging the iPads…there isn't enough outlets in the classrooms for every student to charge their iPad. Sure you can run power strips, but there will still be a higher useage of electricity overall which costs the school additional money in utility bills. It is an even higher cost if they actually hire a contractor to modify the rooms to supply adequate outlets.

    I love the iPad and I think it is a powerful piece of technology. But, it is a TOY. It is not necessary for everyday activities, and it cannot replace a desktop computer by any means. Most of the software that is taught in schools cannot run on the iPad. Plus, this version of the iPad is going to be obsolete in less than 3 years. Just look at the original iPod touch and iPhone. In less than 3 years, both of those devices aren't compatible with Apple's soon-to-be released OS 4.0.

    I'm sorry, but this is a HORRIBLE investment for that school. I feel bad for those students, as this will prevent them from buying something that was actually beneficial to their education.

  5. i went to this school and you could download games and stuff but if u get caught u get detention and such. it was hard to concentrate with games at ur fingtertips haha.. and i had texting app on my ipad so it was easier to get distracted . but on the other end if u choose to use it in a good way and to learn like to take notes and that calcualtor was useful and if we needed the internet it was a lot easier to get stuff done and read books

    • Thanks for sharing. I think in terms of distraction, if you want to be distracted you can always find a way, with or without an iPad around.

  6. An IPad, for high schoolers? really?, even my dad didn’t own an IPad until this year and these kids are getting them already?