Next school year, every five-year-old in Maine will learn via iPad. Is it too much tech too soon?
Maine (who would have guessed?) continues to lead the way in education technology. Not only is the state an international leader in tech literacy due to their one-to-one laptop program for middle and high school students, now one small town plans to give an iPad 2 to every kindergarten student.
The school board in Auburn, population 24,000, voted unanimously to provide the tablets to 285 kindergarteners and their teachers. At $475 a pop, the investment will cost around $200,000, but the board hopes the tablets will help boost literacy from 62 percent to 90 percent by 2013. Superintendent Tom Morrill says the investment's worth it, calling the devices "essential" and saying they're "even more important than a book." Morrill hopes to make the investment an annual one, giving iPads to every following class. His plan is to pay for the devices with private donations, but if that falls through, the bill will fall to the city's taxpayers.
Not all taxpayers are thrilled about that possibility. Nicole Fortin told the Bangor Daily News she thinks the idea's "crazy." Taxpayers are already strapped and worries about about kids breaking the devices—the students will get to take the iPads home—are rampant. "This is a lot to put in the hands of a 5-year-old," says Fortin. With student addiction to media now the norm, parents are also concerned about giving so much screen time to such young kids.
But, in the video above, you can see how excited the students are to learn their letters using downloadable apps, and the state's laptop program has boosted student achievement. What do you think? Should kindergarteners stick to "old school" books or is Auburn on the right track?
photo via The Apple Bites