My colleague Jim Galloway reports that the Legislature is considering an offer from Apple Computers to introduce iPads into middle school classrooms in Georgia as a substitute for books in a measure designed to both cut costs and modernize Georgia classrooms.
Or does a classroom full of kids dependent on computers simply create more headaches — lost, stolen, broken, forgotten — than it solves?
A friend worked in a district that gave every student a laptop and said it was a disaster because of the aforementioned problems.
Galloway reports that Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams, R-Lyon said: Last week we met with Apple Computers, and they have a really promising program where they come in and their recommending to middle schools – for $500 per child per year, they will furnish every child with an iPad, wi-fi the system, provide all the books on the system, all the upgrades, all the teacher training – and the results they’re getting from these kids is phenomenal.”
As Williams noted, the state is spending $40 million on textbooks. (And that is far from covering the full costs of the books, which are increasingly being picked up by local systems.)
In what can be dangerous, my AJC colleagues and I did some math. Figuring there are probably about half a million middle school students in Georgia, how are we saving any money spending $500 per student per year, which is what Williams said at the press conference today? (This morning, I received the actual numbers of middle schoolers: 377,478 middle schoolers reported enrolled this fall. At $500 apiece, that’s $188,739,000. Thanks, Quanalyst)
Are the academic outcomes so much better with iPads to justify the additional cost?
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog