The Tom Dougherty Blog


Posts tagged “US education”

An iPad in each classroom? The time has come.

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There are rumors swirling that the iPad, Kindle and other tablet strongholds are poised to take over the world of educational textbooks.

Well, isn’t it time?

Lets face it. The brand of the United States is not one to have a cookie to celebrate over these days. Without wading through the abyss of political positions, parties, assertions and this and that, one obvious place that our country’s brand could flex its muscles is through education.

As a father to a hard working teacher, and a friend to many others, my beef is not with teachers, but with the outdated and obsolete system they are forced to work in.

Think about it: Most schools are littered with textbooks. Shelves of these old fossils take up room in classrooms of upwards to 30 students. What’s worse is the textbook adoption system. Here, schools spend millions taking on a new textbook that, in four to five years, goes by the wayside for a newly adopted textbook — and the old textbooks is hoarded away in classrooms or in teacher workrooms.

Oddly, especially with the English textbooks, most of the selections within the new and old textbooks are exactly the same. Only the annotated content that coincides with each textbook differs. Therefore, the dollars are not spent on content, just the ever-changing curriculum that goes with the content. Surely, these dollars could be used elsewhere in the educational sector?

It’s a shame we couldn’t just “update” these older textbooks to have the new and necessary information so we could ultimately just save on space, money and resources.

Oh wait, we can. And thankfully some schools are taking the plunge because the world’s most powerful brand — Apple — can help one of our nation’s worst, education.

If every student was given an iPad, Kindle or Nook at the start of the year —where all textbooks and necessary materials were preloaded — wouldn’t that just be so much easier, and even more fun for students? In the long run, it’d even be less expensive.

How about the simplicity of taking notes, or transitioning from a dictionary to a thesaurus, or reading a class assigned novel, or checking grammar against the pre-loaded copy of Strunk & White’s: Elements of Style? What of finding real-time resources, accessing free newspapers as well as all of those necessary resources that were present in the previously assigned textbook? This list of positive attributes could just go on and on.

But most of all, what about the “wow” factor? Our schools desperately need that “wow” factor. They need that jolt from a powerhouse like Apple or Google or Amazon. Students, teachers and administrators would crave it.

It all seems like a no-brainer to me. It’s time for the education system to start using its brain as well.