Remember how exciting it was to crack into a brand-new box of Crayola 64s when you were five?
That recollection, coupled with the gadget lust you feel every time Apple swings open its vault doors and reveals a shiny new toy should probably make you seethe with envy at the Kindergarteners in Auburn, Maine. Their Santa-like school board just voted to equip all 285 of them with brand spanking new iPads. We didn’t want one anyway, you spoiled brats.
Uncharitable jealousy aside, it’s a pretty cool and progressive idea, and one that could benefit more primary schoolkids. The iPad is really perfectly suited and sized for a Kindergarten-age kid, and the interface is easily navigable with their chubby little imprecise fingers.
Council members extolled the learning potential inherent in iPad use for little dudes:
“It’s an unbelievably successful device for engaging students — for engaging children,” School Committee member Thomas Kendall said. “It’s absolutely going to revolutionize education. It’s a game-changer.”
Unsurprisingly, not everyone was in agreement:
“Kids can’t keep track of their mittens or their school books,” Councilor Belinda Gerry said. “And you want them to have iPads? I’m at a loss. I’m at a total loss.”
Indeed, the initiative is not without some cost- $200,000 for the entire district’s Kindergarten set to be kitted out. Still, unlike glue sticks and construction paper, iPads don’t need to be replenished. It’s not clear what curriculum the teachers plan to use iPads to teach, and similar initiatives would probably have to be implemented in districts across the country before any significant selection of relevant apps would become available to teachers for their classrooms.
Do you think giving almost-toddlers iPads is an awesome idea or asking for wanton destruction of gorgeous new device?