Maine school district to provide iPad 2’s for all kindergartners

Youngsters in Auburn, Maine may soon be using iPad 2’s in their early years of learning. The district has just spent over $200,000 on 285 of the latest Apple tablets. The committee that governs the schools in the Maine, Auburn district, voted in favor of using iPad’s to assist children with their early years of education.

The $200,000 cost for the iPad’s also includes insurance, educational software and other training costs. The program will begin as a pilot in May, with a full rollout at the start of the next school year. The rollout will eventually cover all six elementary schools in the small community.

The idea started when teachers used their own iPad’s with educational software installed. They noticed significant improvements while using the iPad as a learning tool with children whom had previously had trouble learning the alphabet. They see the device as a more appropriate computing experience for the age group in question and results seem to back this up.

Have any of our readers seen iPad’s being used in other schools? Do you use your own iPad to assist with your children’s learning? Let us know in the comments!

[Electronista]

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chrisoldroyd

UK editor at iMore, mobile technology lover and air conditioning design engineer.

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Maine school district to provide iPad 2’s for all kindergartners

32 Comments

And here's why the upper norteast of the country has such high taxes. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

I'm very cool with this (as long as they use it to supplement the children's education and not as a crutch so the teachers can take longer smoke breaks :).
I have 2 autistic children, and we use the ipad in the same way: to enhance and reinforce their school work. Since a lot of the ipad's educational apps are both friendly to use and in the form of games we've had a lot of success (especially with our 4 yr old) in doing so. In fact on some difficult school days, we've joked that they're probably getting more out of the ipad, education-wise, then they did in their lessons.

My 3 year old loves to draw and paint. I use various applications on my iPad and she can draw and paint on it all day. It also makes for the BEST means of distraction if we are at a doctors appointment. I practice the alphabet with my 5 year old on both my iPhone and iPad as well as counting. Both children are proficient at Angry Birds as well.

My 2 year old has been using the ipad since he was only a little over 1. We started with peek a boo barn and eventually moved to letters, numbers, etc. He can run my iphone or ipad with no help what so ever! He has his own folders and knows where it is on every device in the house. He loves the music apps just as much as the puzzle apps and things. We were amazed at how quickly he picked it up and seeing him do puzzles before he was even 2 was AWESOME!

Don't be silly. Just give Apple $200,000 and I'm sure they'll move your online order up a week or two. :)

You mean "fingerpainting"??? "Fingerprinting" sounds like you just got arrested for stalking kindergardeners.

My son just turned 2. Among other remarkable things, he already knows all of the alphabet (upper and lower case) and can even recognize letters upside down and backwards. This is pretty unusual for a kid his age. we never really tried to teach these to him. He just learned it all from playing educational games on our iPhones (Super Why!, First Words Deluxe, Preschool Playground, etc). When I upgraded to an iPhone 4, I loaded my old 3G up with stuff for him and let him have at it every now and then.
Outfitting schoolkids with these tools is certainly an expensive proposition, but I certainly can't argue with the results.

Call me a ludite, but I can already see a future where people can't write anymore, just type. One wonders what will happen if the lights go out and batteries run dry. Will people be frustrated when they try to "turn on" their pencils? Kudos to parents with special needs kids though, those really need every break they can get.

You don't exactly type that much on an ipad. These apps actually teach kids to write..although with their finger. But make no mistake, a pencil and workbook are still the main tools of choice. An ipad is a supplement.

It's the main reason I bought an ipad 2..for the 4yr old and her apps. She's using 1st-3rd grade apps now.

To think, a 21 year old college student is saving up everything he has for an iPad while a child gets the device for nothing.
sigh :(

We gave our 6 yr. old my 1st. generation I pad for reading. we have loaded it up with AR books (the adopted reading program her school has adopted) and she is reading nearly a whole grade level above in just under 3 months.
With the price of books in the bookstore versus the itunes store the price savings alone has almost paid for the ipad. She reads about 12 books a week now.

Maybe I should move to Maine. Texas school districts are laying off hundreds of teachers to save money, and one small town spent $200,000 on toys.

So much for a volume discount ... but then again it's a government agency/program paying more than it should. That's OK, no need to negotiate a lower fee, we'll just stick it to the taxpayers. Also, no need to teach and have human interaction. Just plop these in front of the kids and head out to the teacher lounge for a smoke. Other than that ... it's a great idea!

What do you expect with growing class sizes? One teacher can only attend to just so many students without some kind of assistance. Especially at these young ages.
As for costs, $700 per iPad 2 with insurance, training, and software. Depending on what the software actually includes that could be a reasonable price. Keep in mind that these types of purchases are usually targeted to last longer than just 1-2 year consumer upgrade cycle.

I go to college in the neighboring city of Lewiston, and it's nice to see the public school system take some kind of initiative to get kids interested in school around here, I've heard pretty bad stories from students who volunteer in these public schools. Kids become uninterested in school at an early age, and many are below their performance level for their grade.

Very cool news, but will they be receiving special iPads that bounce? Little hands sometimes test gravity either by accident or design. If so, I may look into a bouncing model for my 11 year old.

My wife piloted a iTouch program at the private school (Woodward Academy) in Atlanta (largest private school in the continental U.S.) where she teaches. She also just started initiating an iPad program as well. The teachers are receptive and therfore willing to invest into this program. The AJC newspaper here is doing an article on her program.

That's awesome. My 5 yr old can use the iPad forward and backwards. Im always looking for a new app for her to learn through.

Pretty neat to see this, and I hope that textbooks start heading that way as well.. so many awesome things that can be done!

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