In a $1 billion plan to improve education and give students equal opportunity in the classroom, the Los Angeles Unified School District gave 47,000 iPads to students in 13 schools. Unfortunately, the education plan has not been successful.
There are currently 71 iPads missing, 69 of them being from one campus, Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in Granada Hills. In an article on the Los Angeles Times, Lt. Jose Santome of the school’s district Police Department, said that unless students confess, there is no way to prove they are guilty. Off campus, students were also able to break safeguards and access music streaming websites and social networks–which were prohibited by the district.
Although the original plan for the iPads was for students to use them at home for homework and research, the outcome of this program shows that technology is not the answer for better education. L.A. Unified is naive to think students would use iPads for homework when they have the latest apps and fast Internet connection at their fingertips.
With every iPad costing about $700, this iPad program is an investment not worth making.
As of now, students from three high schools – Maya Angelou, Roosevelt and Westchester – have been required to turn in their iPads. Meanwhile, students from other high schools are not allowed to take iPads home.
In 2013, students are born exposed to touch screens, smart phones and computers from an early age–if not at home, then at stores and schools. They do not need iPads to learn how to surf the web for research. iPads are a luxury, not a necessity. The Apple product is a distraction from homework and is equivalent to students being able to use cell phones during class.
Instead, L.A. Unified should invest $1 billion in conferences to improve teachers’ skills and lesson plans. If what the district is aiming for is to improve students’ computer skills, then it can also use all this money to provide computer classes or extend computer lab hours after school.
Also, why not encourage students to visit the library and take advantage of its free resources? This would not result in the district spending billions of dollars. L.A. Unified is always emphasizing the importance of improving students’ reading skills so why not teach students how to use books as a resource?