[plug] WA Govenment iPads for year 1 and 2 students

Gavin Chester gavin.chester at gmail.com
Thu Feb 9 22:58:16 WST 2012

The education dept is VERY, unshakably windoze-centric. OTOH, private 
schools seem VERY mac-centric, with ones I am familiar with insisting on 
parents buying ipads for yr7s starting in their highschools.

I write as a teacher at a public high school, so I have some insight :-/


> *Cost of the device ($1,000,000 /<900) is more than $1,110 per
> device. OLPC laptops are arround $400 I think and
> *Vendor Lock-in - Need iTunes
> *Suitability of the Device - vs OLPC laptops that are *designed* for
> education or even just of the shelf netbooks
> *Open-ness of the device software - what if a parent wants to write
> software like a maths quiz for their child?
> *Setting a standard - will parents of kids that don't get iPads
> through this program feel presured to buy iPads for their children?

So, it seems that the conservative pollies, who invariably send their 
kids to private schools, have bought into the whole private-school-mac 
paradigm. Yes it's ridiculous, but I doubt it will change anytime soon, 

As for price, supplying anything (buildings, computers, services, etc) 
to education has long been recognised as a cash-cow, worldwide. In 
Australia, govt sets up 'preferred supplier' contracts that businesses 
tender for. That means you buy yourself a monopoly to supply schools. 
That translates to rip-off. For example, I'm on my school's technology 
committee. I haven't been able to avert the purchase of more windoze 
computers (it's got to be compatible, you see. sigh), but at least 
managed to avert making our school into a mac school.

ATM, we have federal funding (1:1 student computer ratio is the aim) and 
are buying netbooks for each student in the school. The preferred 
supplier (in fact, the only supplier) is selling them to us at >$800 
each, whereas anyone could get the same spec netbook at a retailer for 
<$400! And, no, there is only standard hardware warranty support for 
that price.

So, sorry to be mr negative, but you won't get anywhere with campaigns 
to change technology use and purchasing in schools :-( I despair that 
powerful people and parents have their heads too far up their proverbial 
to see the folly of their ways.


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