Is the iPad too cool for school?

Is the iPad too cool for school?

Summary: I really couldn't decide on Friday when I read the news about Victoria signing up for 500 iPads to use in its schools whether it was forward-looking genius or try-hard wankery.

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I really couldn't decide on Friday when I read the news about Victoria signing up for 500 iPads to use in its schools whether it was forward-looking genius or try-hard wankery.

Roughly $314,500 worth of taxpayers' money is a lot to spend on 500 new pieces of hardware. Yes, the iPad could be useful, and as one of our readers has pointed out, any money spent on making sure our kids are able to use technology is well spent.

But think about how well kids take to Apple's tech already. They don't need the government to subsidise a device for them to know how to use it. I have seen a video of a baby using the iPad. I'm not sure any familiarising is necessary.

Then you've got to think about the fact that a decent number of those kids would have probably nagged their parents for an iPad and would have succeeded, meaning that the government has in the end just saved some long-suffering parent's pocket.

I also have a slight problem with things moving mint fresh from the launch into classrooms. This might be too practical of me, but I've always been one of those people who've held as a mantra that a car loses value directly as it rolls from the showroom floor.

I'm not stupid enough to think that an iPad would ever see a second owner, likely a screen would be cracked or it would be outdated before it would reach that stage, but surely buying a contingent of iPads as the hype is at its highest is a little foolhardy? We've witnessed prices drop dramatically in the past as devices become more humdrum.

I love the idea that our governments are forward looking enough to see that the classroom is changing and that new tools are needed to facilitate that change. I can see that tablets like the iPad are likely to have a great use in the classroom. But I don't think that their use will be immediately apparent after launch. As the Chaser pointed out in a very amusing piece, the main function of the iPad at the moment is to make other people feel jealous.

Topics: Apple, Government AU, iPad

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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3 comments
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  • its "Try hard wankery". Whilst I'm all for technology being used as educational tools in class rooms, 500 devices would not constitute a adequate distribution to school children to provide any meaningful educational aid.

    Further, kids are extremely adept at adopting new technologies - they tend not to need a lot of educating (by adults) in this sphere. And what is the educational benefit of an iPad? (any documented case studies etc - no)
    spruke@...
  • It's a pilot, it's touch screen would be good in special schools as a communication device with autistic children.

    Previously, some schools have used iPhones for this purpose
    daryl.cheshire@...
  • Yes, prices drop after the initial surge of demand. More significant is the fact that v2 of any new device is always going to be better with the launch bugs taken out.

    Still, it's only money. As the Bloody Enormous Ripoff continues to demonstrate, govts love to waft big wads of (our) cash around.
    gnome-8be8a