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Letter to the editor: iPads plan raises questions

To the editor,

I was dismayed when I read that the school board was considering spending its technology money to lease iPads for every student and teacher.

Apple technology is mezmerizing, dazzling. Is the board still under the spell of an Apple product and a great sales pitch? Did the Apple representative show any studies to support their assertion that having iPads will increase student learning?

There is nothing an iPad can do that a computer cannot do better.

Leasing the iPads will deplete the technology fund. Where will money be found for upgrading/repairing/replacing school computers? At the end of three years, the ipads will be returned. What will you have to show for the money spent?

If increased student enrollment does not occur to help fund iPad leases and to upgrade the Internet infrastructure to handle the increased traffic, what then?

You say you can charge students $50. Teachers too? Have you estimated how many students would not be able to afford this fee and thus need to be subsidized by the taxpayer? What about families that have several children in the district?

Other questions:

1. Will students/teachers be allowed to take these iPads home for personal use and to use during vacations?

2. How will the school ensure the iPads will not be stolen, lost or damaged?

iPad screens fracture easily when dropped. What are the ramifications if an iPad is lost, stolen or damaged?

3. How will the school ensure that these devices are not used for social networking, email and non-educational uses? How will you monitor the downloading of music/music videos/movies?

4. Who will make sure these devices' batteries are charged in the manner required to ensure long battery life?

5. If the student or teacher has other Apple devices, iCloud will automatically transfer info from the iPad to their own devices. Yes, the iCloud can be shut off, but it also can be easily turned back on.

6. How will you ensure these 7,000 wireless, portable devices with cameras are not used in inappropriate ways? How will you handle student privacy issues?

7. How many hours a day will the students be gazing at these devices, as well as computers, at school? How many hours/day using these and other video devices is considered healthy for kids?

iPads are a toy and a distraction from real education.

I want to see the school district concentrate on the basics of education taught by a teacher in a way that is interactive and not by having students gazing into yet another device that reduces human contact and interaction.

Most parents already limit their child's use of computers, TV, video games and now our school district is giving families one more device to monitor.

Children actually do better with less. It makes them creative. Why not give that a try?

Mary Rassmussen,