Saturday, May 7, 2011

Starting 'em young: Plan to give iPads to kindergartners upsets parents

iPads for kindergartners? Talk about your digital natives. From the Bangor Daily News:

AUBURN, Maine — Upset citizens filled the Auburn Hall council chambers Wednesday night to let the school committee know how unhappy they were about a decision to give iPad 2s to kindergarten students this fall.

For nearly two hours, person after person condemned the decision. Several said they are for technology in schools, but this was too much for students too young.

The majority of those who spoke demanded the committee change its direction and drop or alter the iPad 2 program for kindergartners.

The committee took no action.

It was announced that the pilot program would proceed in five classes May 12. From May 20 to 24 there will be pilot parent nights, and on June 15 the committee would hear how the four weeks went with kindergarten students using iPad 2s. If students don’t show promise, the program won’t continue, educators said.

That didn’t appease the audience.

James Williams told the committee they’ve gone too far and he didn’t care about “charts and graphs” showing how iPads would boost student learning. Charts and graphs can be manipulated to show anything, Williams said.

Kids today want to play computer games, he said. “They don’t want to work anymore.”

At stores kids can’t make change for $1 unless the machine tells them how much, Williams said. Kids who have access to computers too early “are afraid to make eye contact. … What you’re going to do is raise a bunch of computer geniuses, but illiterate idiots.”

Tracey Levesque, co-founder of the Facebook page Auburn Citizens for Responsible Education, said the group asked people to say whether the iPads for kindergartners was a good idea. “As of 3 p.m. today, 329 had voted yes, 6,722 voted no, and 133 were undecided.”

Read the rest here.


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