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School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

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School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Old 09-04-13, 02:37 PM
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School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-l...,6184460.story
excerpts:

Los Angeles school officials are acknowledging a new looming cost in a $1-billion effort to provide iPads to every student: keyboards.

Officials so far have not budgeted that expense, but they said the wireless keyboards are recommended for students when they take new state standardized tests.

If keyboards were to be provided for all 650,000 students, the cost could be more than $38 million at current retail prices. It's not clear if the district plans to provide keyboards for all, and officials were not prepared to estimate the cost during a meeting last week of a Board of Education committee that is tracking the iPad initiative.
So far the district has committed to paying Apple $30 million to provide tablets at 47 schools. Over time, funding for all iPads will reach about $500 million. Another $500 million will be spent on items such as installing wireless Internet throughout the nation's second-largest school system.
As of now, the iPad project does not include wireless keyboards, in part because the tablet computers have touch screens.

But that setup might not satisfy the needs of older students writing term papers, for example. And if typing on them proves more difficult, that could frustrate or hinder students as they take new online tests. The device's touch screen could even obscure portions of a test item that would be visible in its entirety on a full screen.
I'll say this: I bought a wireless keyboard some time ago, thinking that I would need it for longer emails and whatnot, and I barely use it. Bottom line is that if the kids would be better served with laptops or desktops or whatever, go get those and don't get ipads. Ipads are not a replacement for computers, at least not yet. Plus at the current prices they're luxuries, not necessities. I know they're going to install some lojack-like system to prevent theft (can't wait to see what that costs), but how many of these are going to need to be replaced in a normal school year?

Plus 500 million for wireless internet throughout the school district?
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Old 09-04-13, 03:08 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

You forgot to add the expense of providing wireless Internet access to the homes of the poorer students whose parents cannot afford it, so that students can do their homework on the iPads at their homes. That is another cost that LAUSD is trying to sneak by on the unsuspecting citizens.

(And, so far, this is being paid out of school construction bond money that was earmarked to go to repairing and replacing dilapidated school rooms and buildings. The LAUSD school board held a meeting with its LAUSD lawyers to ascertain whether it was legal to take building construction money that was voted on by the citizens to fix and improve old buildings and put it into purchasing half a billion dollars worth of iPads. The LAUSD lawyers okayed the purchase and said there was no problem. Of course, Deasy, the Los Angeles' Superintendent had no problem with this ruling since he owns a substantial amount of Apple stock. In fact, he was the guy who recommended and pushed for the buying of iPads.)

Laptops would have been vastly cheaper and better for the students, but Deasy couldn't make a profit off of that deal.
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Old 09-04-13, 03:13 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

They'd be easy targets for robbers, too.
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Old 09-04-13, 04:02 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

As someone who does use an iPad for school, albeit at the university level, I could have told them that keyboards would be essential.
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Old 09-04-13, 04:14 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

I use my iPad for work and I have no trouble with the virtual keyboard. A standard keyboard is certainly easier to use, but the virtual one just takes getting used to.
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Old 09-04-13, 04:21 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
As someone who does use an iPad for school, albeit at the university level, I could have told them that keyboards would be essential.
They wouldn't have listened to you...or to anyone. It was in the school board andthe superintendent's interest to make the voters of Los Angeles think that they are on top of everything and that this plan was well thought out and that there would be no further expenses.
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Old 09-04-13, 05:12 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Plus 500 million for wireless internet throughout the school district?
Cisco is really good at upselling.
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Old 09-04-13, 05:23 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
I use my iPad for work and I have no trouble with the virtual keyboard. A standard keyboard is certainly easier to use, but the virtual one just takes getting used to.
Do you use it for taking dictation? I find it impossible to use while taking notes on lectures.
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Old 09-04-13, 05:38 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Bandoman View Post
I use my iPad for work and I have no trouble with the virtual keyboard. A standard keyboard is certainly easier to use, but the virtual one just takes getting used to.
In my 300 level business writing class, we had to write a paper that was a minimum of 16 pages. Try typing that on a virtual keyboard.
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Old 09-04-13, 05:44 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
Do you use it for taking dictation? I find it impossible to use while taking notes on lectures.
I can't imagine dragging a keyboard along to class with an iPad.
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Old 09-04-13, 05:52 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
I can't imagine dragging a keyboard along to class with an iPad.
Why not? Many college students already take a laptop to class.
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Old 09-04-13, 06:13 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Our poor underfunded public schools
Identify a problem.
Throw a shitload of money at it.

When the problem isn't solved, claim that's because we didn't throw enough money down the money hole.
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Old 09-04-13, 06:32 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
Identify a problem.
Throw a shitload of money at it.

When the problem isn't solved, claim that's because we didn't throw enough money down the money hole.
What was the problem they were solving?

Next they'll need monitors for the kids to hook the ipads up to. And on a serious note, won't they have to buy new Airprint compatible printers as well? My understanding was that a lot of the schools in the district were cutting dedicated IT, with a centralized office and employees rotating around the school. So it may take a few days before someone can come to the school and unplug/replug the router...
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Old 09-04-13, 06:34 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
What was the problem they were solving?
kids weren't learning.
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Old 09-04-13, 07:08 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
I can't imagine dragging a keyboard along to class with an iPad.
An iPad and Apple wireless keyboard takes up less space and weighs less than an average 15" laptop. Probably 13" as well, unless it's an ultrabook/Macbook Air
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Old 09-04-13, 07:50 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by taffer View Post
Why not? Many college students already take a laptop to class.
Yeah, but that's one piece vs. two and you don't have to find a place to prop up the screen on a laptop.
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Old 09-04-13, 07:51 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Soon people will say that about textbooks.
I think a lot of school districts are buying into the idea that iPads = cheap electronic textbooks.
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Old 09-04-13, 07:55 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Soon people will say that about textbooks.
Yeah, 20 lbs of textbooks versus 1.5 lbs of iPad.

Its not rocket science.


Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Yeah, but that's one piece vs. two and you don't have to find a place to prop up the screen on a laptop.
The typical laptop weighs 5-6 lbs. The iPad is 1.5 lbs. The keyboard adds a negligible amount of weight, maybe a few ounces. Despite being two pieces, the iPad is still preferable. Also there is an kickstand accessory you can buy for the iPad.
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Old 09-05-13, 07:24 AM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Someone really needs to beef up the quality of those roll up keyboards that are out right now. From what i understand the quality on them are lacking on the connectivity is sketch, but if you develop a low cost roll up one for easy transport they would sell like hotcakes.
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Old 09-05-13, 10:09 AM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Do the kids get to keep the ipads or are they expected to return them after the school year? I imagine a lot of ipads are going to be replaced due to the kids breaking them...
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Old 09-05-13, 11:58 AM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Rockmjd23 View Post
Replacing textbooks with ipads would be a fine idea if it saves money but if that isn't the ultimate goal of buying them then I don't see the point.
I could see this, although I wonder how much resistance there would be from the textbook companies. I know amazon also has some kind of program, but can you get most textbooks in digital form nowadays?

There's also no mention about using the ipads for textbooks, only for using them for the standardized tests and for writing papers. I don't know if that's because the article is focused on the keyboard or if it's because they won't be used for textbooks.

Originally Posted by Krayzie View Post
Do the kids get to keep the ipads or are they expected to return them after the school year? I imagine a lot of ipads are going to be replaced due to the kids breaking them...
They have to return them, but I can imagine a lot of them breaking/getting stolen. I doubt they hold the parent liable... if they did, I can see a lot of parents in poorer neighborhoods opting out because they wouldn't be able to afford to replace it. Add in keyboards, which will similarly get broken/lost/stolen but will also get really grimey and probably need to be replaced regularly.

I also didn't think there was a way to lock down specific apps. You can lock down the entire ipad with a passcode, but the kids will know that. They may not be able to install whatever they want, but can they restrict them from viewing "unauthorized content" from safari, for instance?

Franchot, you seem to know a lot about this, do you know if the original proposal included textbooks, and how they're going to pay for replacements?
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Old 09-05-13, 12:17 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I also didn't think there was a way to lock down specific apps. You can lock down the entire ipad with a passcode, but the kids will know that. They may not be able to install whatever they want, but can they restrict them from viewing "unauthorized content" from safari, for instance?

Franchot, you seem to know a lot about this, do you know if the original proposal included textbooks, and how they're going to pay for replacements?
Wouldn't they just setup the network to block the "unauthorized content"?
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Old 09-05-13, 12:32 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Jason View Post
Yeah, but that's one piece vs. two and you don't have to find a place to prop up the screen on a laptop.
Have you ever seen an iPad with the small external keyboard and stand? Someone post a picture for this caveman!
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Old 09-05-13, 12:33 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post

Franchot, you seem to know a lot about this, do you know if the original proposal included textbooks, and how they're going to pay for replacements?
Yes, the iPads are supposedly bundled with textbooks, but the major push at the roll-out was for the iPads to be used to administer the state tests.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-s...,6459120.story

In a major shift in how California's 6.2 million public school students are taught and tested, state officials plan to drop the standardized exams used since 1999 and replace them with a computerized system next spring.

...

L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy didn't want instructors teaching to the old test while also having to prepare for something new. For weeks, he's pushed behind the scenes for permission to move the nation's second-largest school system entirely to the new test and students would take the new exam on iPads that he intends to provide to each of them.
While having all the textbooks that a student would use downloaded onto the iPad is a great idea, the problem always arises when trying to hold accountable people who don't care if they're held accountable. State law states that if a student looses a textbook, the school district must issue a replacement book. Supposedly, parents (or the student) have to purchase the replacement textbook. Poorer parents simply state that they don't have the money for the replacement book and a new book (iPad) is issued to them regardless because it is against the state law for a student not to have a textbook for his/her use each day. Further, the Williams decree states that a student MUST be able to have a textbook available to him/her which he/she can use at his/her home. (I don't know how LAUSD is going to get around this since it's stated that iPads will remain on campus and will not travel home.)

(Years ago, another scheme that the textbook publishers put together with the California board of education was that new textbooks must be purchased every five years regardless of what condition the current books are in. Even if the books are brand new and have never been touched. That makes sense for science, technology, math books, but not so much for other subjects. The textbook publishers make a lot of money out by reissuing the same material over and over and over again in a new book. For example, an anthology of American literature which was written during the 1900s wouldn't change, but a new book of those old stories are simply repackaged with a shiny new cover...at a very large marked-up price.)
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Old 09-05-13, 01:07 PM
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Re: School district funds ipads for all students; oops, now they need keyboards

Originally Posted by Mabuse View Post
Have you ever seen an iPad with the small external keyboard and stand? Someone post a picture for this caveman!
Yeah, he obviously hasn't seen a college campus in the last decade or so. The majority of college students take a laptop with them to class now. In fact, some universities even require students to buy a laptop. My old university requires it. My university got rid of its computer labs since all students are required to have their own laptop now. There are wireless printers available in every building, but there are no more computer labs.

If you want more mobility, then going with the iPad is definitely the better option since even with a keyboard it would still weigh less than 2 lbs. You won't find a laptop that's less than 5 lbs unless you are looking at tiny netbooks/ultrabooks.
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