iPads in U.S Classrooms

Cristal Reyes

Technology…is it a revolution or an unnecessary way to spend money? With 2011’s economic crisis across the United States, can schools afford luxuries? Apparently they can. About 600 school districts across the nation have implemented new learning devices. No, the new devices aren’t new computers or projectors. They’re Apple iPads.  Schools, even in Connecticut, are distributing new personal iPads to their students.

It’s a known fact that internet blogs have replaced many newspapers, E-books are on the verge of replacing books, and now text books are facing extinction.  According to Jason Koebler, the iPad versions of books are cheaper than the hard cover versions. An iPad text book costs an average of $59, $13 less than the hardcover versions.  In addition to saving money, new iPads save paper and printing material. iPads aren’t only good to save money on text books. They also are used as video players, graphing calculators, and much more. Some teachers are even insisting that students are performing at better levels because of the new devices.

However, not only can they be used for education purposes, they can also be used as ways to connect to Facebook and play unlimited games.  Distraction at its best!  Apart from the distraction, iPads cost money…and lots of it. A single iPad can range a school anywhere from $300-$600, depending the service plans and apps installed on them.  An average high school in an urban city has about 1,000 students. With a little math, that’s anywhere from $300,000-$600,000! Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School in Minnesota bought 375 iPads for its students, only to have 22 lost or broken iPads in the first year. Some students plainly are too young to have the responsibility to care for such an expensive device.

We are in the digital generation, but schools are pushing the limits and spending money recklessly on devices that aren’t needed. Point blank, with school budgets being cut the luxury of having iPads should not even be a question. Kids have been learning and succeeding by using text books for more than a century. Why change something that’s clearly not broken?