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LA schools' iPad program flawed from beginning, federal report says
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NewsPoster
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Jan 13, 2015, 10:52 AM
 
The Los Angeles Unified School District's failed iPad deployment was botched early on, according to a review by the US Education Department. The federal agency says that the LAUSD put too hard an emphasis on using Apple hardware and software, ignoring cheaper options that could have saved money for the district and taxpayers. In July the LAUSD said it was shifting to a strategy involving Chromebooks and Windows devices, such as the Microsoft Surface.

The Education Department adds that teachers weren't properly educated on how to work iPads into curricula, and that senior management didn't pass along concerns in a speedy way, allowing small problems to grow into larger ones. "Among the most significant gaps we identified was the absence of district-wide instructional technology leadership," the report reads.

Even now, some schools are said to lack plans for how devices will be used to support learning. "As a result, there is no common vision for how devices should be shifting learning and teaching within schools, making measuring impact difficult, if even possible," the Education Department wrote.

The USD initially spent $30 million on providing Apple hardware to 47 schools, followed by another $115 million to expand the program. It then ran into budget problems, however, particularly since it misinterpreted Apple's bulk discount, which in reality was only due to take effect after the $400 million mark. The District officially cancelled the program in December, and some other fallout has included the resignations of former Superintendent John Deasy and former head of technology Ronald Chandler, plus a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On top of this, one of the problems encountered while the program was still active was the discovery that students had figured out how to get around web browsing restrictions.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Jan 14, 2015 at 05:08 AM. )
     
robttwo
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Jan 13, 2015, 11:20 AM
 
lol. my little rural school district has ipads 1:2 ratio (every other student) and they use them extensively, completely integrated into the curricula.

The story says alot about the IDIOTS that are running things, and dumbing these city kids down.
     
Mr. Strat
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Jan 13, 2015, 11:20 AM
 
Going with Chromebooks & the Surface?

So much for quality...
     
iBricking.com
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Jan 13, 2015, 11:39 AM
 
"Dr." Deasy has questionable ethics, and the bidding process was likely flawed, but the solution is definitely penny wise pound foolish.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Jan 13, 2015, 12:12 PM
 
If you can't deploy and integrate iPads into the curriculum correctly, then you're not going to be able to do it with Chromebooks, either. In other words, the problem isn't the type of device that was chosen.

Much like transitioning from Mac to PC, or vice versa -- it's all icons, windows, click and double-click. If you can't manage to wrap your head around those concepts, then the computer and/or operating system is not the root cause of your problems.
     
jdonahoe
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Jan 13, 2015, 12:31 PM
 
I don't see how going to Chromebooks and Surface tablets is going to change the "emphasis" on a manufacturer. Surface tablets are not significantly cheaper than iPads unless Microsoft is selling them at a lose to get a major foot in the door, then jacking up the price later or sticking them for maintenance fees.
     
darkelf
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Jan 13, 2015, 12:49 PM
 
welcome to the wonderful world of higher ongoing support costs.
     
just a poster
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Jan 13, 2015, 12:51 PM
 
I grew up with Apple ][s in my school. We used to do semi-productive stuff on these devices (besides playing Oregon Trail) like writing programs in BASIC and learning how to duplicate copy-protected disks.

There's no similar productivity on the iOS, it's a device for consumption only. Put in your credit card, press download and install. Surf the web, read stupid stuff.

Tablets are not productive learning devices because they are aimed at reading, not writing.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Jan 13, 2015, 01:20 PM
 
Saying a tablet is not a productive learning device is like saying a book isn't a productive learning device.

The iPads were not deployed in order to teach children how to program in BASIC and duplicate copy-protected disks. They were deployed to replace and/or enhance certain classroom learning devices like books, chalkboards, overhead projectors, and the like.
     
just a poster
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Jan 13, 2015, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by DiabloConQueso View Post
Saying a tablet is not a productive learning device is like saying a book isn't a productive learning device.

The iPads were not deployed in order to teach children how to program in BASIC and duplicate copy-protected disks. They were deployed to replace and/or enhance certain classroom learning devices like books, chalkboards, overhead projectors, and the like.
I see what you did there. I said, "reading instead of writing" so you picked up on books. Books are still a better method to read and mark up content, not to mention cheaper than their digital equivalent based on volume of texts purchased/licensed and cost of tablets.

A chalkboard is cheaper than a classroomful of ipads. An overhead projector is cheaper than a classroomful of ipads.

I hope Apple enjoyed their taxpayer-funded bailout.
     
climacs
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Jan 13, 2015, 01:37 PM
 
@just a poster: tablets are ideal for distribution of textbooks, which are updated every year but typically over 90% of their content is substantially the same as the previous year.

Also, Apple is in fact the one company in the world that is least in need of any bailout, but thanks for playing.
     
DiabloConQueso
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Jan 13, 2015, 01:45 PM
 
So your sentiment is that the cheapest method is the better method?

The iPad (and other tablet- or computer-based learning devices) offer much more interactivity than books do -- for example, eBooks with hyperlinks to related material, integrated videos that can demonstrate animated concepts (something that books cannot do), etc.

Not to mention their internet and intranet capabilities, allowing children to take the iPads home while still accessing, manipulating, consuming, and digesting content that is located at the school or somewhere other than their home.

Your complete dismissal of the iPad as a learning tool simply because you can't program in BASIC on it or copy disks is short-sighted. No longer is "computer class" once or twice a week the only place in a school where a student interacts and learns from technology -- technology is pervasive and can be helpful in a number of non-related disciplines.

I, too, went to school in the 70s and 80s, and I, too, remember computer class, BASIC, LOGO, Oregon Trail, and all the other fun and educational stuff we did that was specific to computers themselves -- but this is no longer the 70s and 80s, and technology isn't tucked away in a single classroom that you get to visit and learn in once or twice a week... it's in almost every classroom now, and I have a very hard time believing that you can't think of creative ways that technology can be used to educate students in History, Math, Science, Art, and all the other disciplines they encounter in primary school.

Instead of relegating yourself to thinking about how technology cannot be used to educate, you should challenge yourself and think of ways that it can. I'll bet you end up thinking of a number of great, creative, and intelligent ways that iPads (and technology in general) can be used to supplement and enhance the stone tablets and chisels we used 20 or 30 years ago.
     
Vulpine
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Jan 13, 2015, 02:35 PM
 
As I read it, the failure was not due to over-dependence but rather overconfidence--too many people thinking they knew better how to utilize the devices. Taking the later arguments into consideration, the Federal government is saying they should have spent twice as much on questionable hardware just to have access to even more questionable software. Now if THAT isn't a failure waiting to happen!
     
Vulpine
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Jan 13, 2015, 02:44 PM
 
"Books are still a better method to read and mark up content, not to mention cheaper than their digital equivalent based on volume of texts purchased/licensed and cost of tablets."

I fully disagree with every aspect of this sentiment. While books don't require any power to use, students are consistently warned not to mark up their books or they will be forced to pay for them. When the typical school gives a minimum of six heavy books to each student at the beginning of the year (semester/quarter/whatever) and those books typically cost over $50 each, that means the kid is carrying $300 worth of over ten pounds of paper home every day, not even counting any workbooks (actually meant for marking) and other materials. By no means are books the "easiest and cheapest" way of educating children.

Let's add to this that the way most schoolbooks are written, they are at best dull and boring with little in the way of visual reference to gain their interest. A tablet device--regardless of platform--offers a level of interactivity and animation to help retain their attention.
     
HappyPhil
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Jan 13, 2015, 03:43 PM
 
The headline should read, Competitors say; "blah, blah, Apple bad".
     
lockhartt
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Jan 13, 2015, 04:06 PM
 
@just-a-poster
"I hope Apple enjoyed their taxpayer-funded bailout."

Lol, what?! Apple hasn't had a non-profitable quarter in over 15 years, and is one of highest valued companies on the planet. And, if anything, an educational sale of that scale decreases Apple's profit margin by a statistically significant amount for the fiscal period affected by the sale.

And the iPads were not proposed to replace computers, per se, but to extend the learning experience in new ways.

That being said, the whole plan was both ill-conceived and poorly-executed within the district itself... and really deserved to fail. The knee-jerk resolution; however, is likely to prove to be similarly faulty for the same reasons.
     
just a poster
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Jan 13, 2015, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Vulpine View Post
When the typical school gives a minimum of six heavy books to each student at the beginning of the year (semester/quarter/whatever) and those books typically cost over $50 each, that means the kid is carrying $300 worth of over ten pounds of paper home every day, not even counting any workbooks (actually meant for marking) and other materials. By no means are books the "easiest and cheapest" way of educating children.
Did you mean to hammer home my point? Instead of textbooks (which in your example cost less than the iPad itself), the cost is now digital textbooks+iPad.

Originally Posted by Vulpine View Post
Let's add to this that the way most schoolbooks are written, they are at best dull and boring with little in the way of visual reference to gain their interest. A tablet device--regardless of platform--offers a level of interactivity and animation to help retain their attention.
It's called a distraction.

@Diablo - I think you already know BASIC is a better tool for brain development than Oregon Trail.
     
just a poster
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Jan 13, 2015, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by HappyPhil View Post
The headline should read, Competitors say; "blah, blah, Apple bad".
Where do I send your tinfoil hat?
     
Flying Meat
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Jan 13, 2015, 05:48 PM
 
@just a poster "I hope Apple enjoyed their taxpayer-funded bailout."

I'm sure you have the same hopes for Google and Microsoft.
     
coffeetime
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Jan 13, 2015, 06:50 PM
 
If a text book costs $50 average, I am very sure an super duper interactive iBook or app will cost the same because of the time it requires to program, to create movies/animations/3D animations, to pay for music.....etc. It's a very expensive process because it's double the amount of work putting into it. On top of that, they have to get iPad to run i (it all adds up). It's an overpriced educational tool. My suggestion is to give them the old fashion books and do their research online at home is way more efficient and economical. If you are talking about downloading freebie apps for 4 year-old to learn on an iPad, that's a different story.
     
just a poster
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Jan 13, 2015, 07:12 PM
 
@Flying Meat for the record, I think Microsoft and Google's tablets are just as pointless and a waste of money.

the fact it is so easy for schools to switch platforms suggests that most of the so-called "educational" stuff isn't an application anyway.
     
David Esrati
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Jan 13, 2015, 09:43 PM
 
I had to configure 70 ipad minis for a single app- and deployment this summer. I consider myself pretty competent- but, the apple Configurator may go down in history as the worst piece of Apple software. Next to impossible- and that was after buying a very expensive third party device to power and connect the iPads.
The part that no one is talking about is that even with the iPads- going home without internet- makes any tech of questionable value. We need to wire our cities- and our students.
It wasn't just the competitors screaming- text book publishers are terrified of this change.
The real question is why OLPC is good enough for third world countries and not for us?
It's time to come up with a national solution- and really give our kids a shot.
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coffeetime
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Jan 14, 2015, 01:39 PM
 
A soup-up interactive iBook/App = 1GB to 2GB. Let say 1.5GB text book multiply by history, science, English, social study, math, geo, .........etc. That means school needs at least 64GB iPad per student. Wow. I guess more fund raising hitting at parents to support the iPad because Gov just can't afford it all.
     
coffeetime
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Jan 14, 2015, 01:55 PM
 
OK. An IT guy can handle 70 iPads. How many IT you will need per school to handle 500 iPads? Maybe 2 or 3? And what is their minimun salary again? More Money. Seriously, you can't beat old fashion textbooks with existing internet access at home. I would rather having Gov paying more on teachers (who are seriously underpay) than wasting on hi-tech toys and hi salary IT guys.
     
apple4ever
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Jan 14, 2015, 02:45 PM
 
@coffeetime No, its not an overpriced educational tool. Its an underpriced educational tool. People learn in different ways, and instead of carrying around 50 different things, everything is there in one device.

And its both a consumption and a productivity tool. You can read on it, and you can write on it. You can use and you can create.

The iPad is an amazing educational tool, and there are so many apps out there that make it even better. And that ignores the entire web out there that is filled with content.

Text books don't cost $50, they cost $100. With about 7 classes, that's $700. The iPad is $500 (depending on which one you get). Besides the clear weight savings, it also offers so many other consumption and production abilities.
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coffeetime
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Jan 15, 2015, 04:20 AM
 
@apple4ever. Are you saying all textbooks are free for download onto iPad? That's unrealistic. You have to consider the cost of paying for those interactive textbooks which are very expensive. I work for multimedia/graphic company and they are not cheap to produce. Remember: $700 textbooks are just static paper books. Interactive textbooks (whether they are iBooks or Apps formats) will double that amount easily or same price (after minus printing cost). These are the hidden costs many people overlook big time.

You can not compare a $500 iPad to $700 textbooks. iPad is a tool. Textbooks are contents. You need to pay for contents (hint: digital textbooks) on an iPad in order for it to be usable. So it is an overpriced educational tool. (a $5 downloadable textbook app? Not happening).

And those note taking and drawing apps are not free either unless you download the freebie crappy or limited demo ones.

Kids today are overly indulged with digital devices. They need to take breaks from them big time. Need to get back to basic: pencil and paper!
( Last edited by coffeetime; Jan 15, 2015 at 08:54 AM. )
     
coffeetime
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Jan 15, 2015, 05:00 AM
 
Another hidden cost: every student's desk has to be equipped with charging station. And don't expect every student come to school with fully charged iPad, not happening. Electrical bill will go up in school.
     
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Jan 15, 2015, 12:18 PM
 
This is the same city that will not be there in 20 years due to lack of water.

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Jan 17, 2015, 09:58 AM
 
This is why education is stuck in the dark ages. Educators and school districts can't innovate without a competing interest making a stink and it turning into a lawsuit. (This has happened before, and it will happen to the next school district that tries it.) Parents are going to be forced to either send their kids to a private school or home school if they want to see any progression in education. The public school system is going to be stuck on this government insanity merry go round.
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