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

Euan de Kock euan at dekock.net
Thu Feb 9 23:46:40 WST 2012

I remember when Apples first started being popular in schools, and
everyone breathed a sigh of relief - the Windows death grip was finally
being loosened.

Now we find ourselves with the scourge of Mac lock in. This will become
especially so with the popularity of iPads. The locking is even deeper
than Windows, it's both software and hardware.

My year 12 kids, both in (different) public schools are now being
supplied with Macs too, so the Apple trend has gone beyond the private
schools and is now making major in roads into public schools too.

Conversely, there is a pragmatic side to the schools decisions, when you
see business users and trend setters rushing to get iPads it is not a
difficult choice to want your kids/pupils to be exposed to what appears
to be the business tools of the future. How many execs have you spotted
on the train with an OLPC laptop?, Linux laptop ?, even netbooks seems
so noughties now.

Android may start to gain in this space now that Samsung can actually
sell devices, but in a few years time we'll all be lamenting the lock in
of a proprietary google/android/chrome platform.

It seems that computing is determined more along fashionable lines
rather than savvy technical merit - it's probably always been like that
to an extent, but now it's much more mainstream and visible.



On 02/09/12 22:58, Gavin Chester wrote:
> 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 :-/
> [snip]
>> *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, sadly.
> 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.
> Gavin
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