Give a student a choice between reading something off an iPad and reading something in a textbook, but don’t expect much love for the non-Apple, paper-based option. As fashion dictates, iPads are cool, stylish and cutting edge (for now, at least), so square-eyed, tech-obsessed kids will naturally be more drawn to reading material presented on a sharp and shiny iPad screen. It seems Apple has grown savvy to this, judging by their recent decision to supply an iPad – complete with digital, interactive textbooks – to every high school student currently living and studying in America.
In a dream world, this sounds like a fantastic idea: teachers could find their students becoming more enthusiastic about their education, because hey ho, they get to play with an iPad. Unfortunately, one must view this from a financial standpoint, and as Online Teaching Degree points out in the handy infographic above, widespread use of Apple’s brand spanking new education plan seems unlikely. For one thing, the cost of supplying every student in the US with Apple’s latest technological offspring is the equivalent of a full year's salary for 675,000 of America’s teachers. Compare that to regular ol’ textbooks, which are 41% cheaper and much less likely to be smashed to bits under little Billy’s sneakers. Even if schools were to get rid of their computers in favor of iPads, the total computer budget ($2 billion in 2010) would still only provide an iPad for 10% of America’s students.
So, unless Apple supplies a ginormous hardware discount for US schools, don’t get your hopes up about getting your own personal iPad to play with in the classroom any time soon, kids.
By Stephen Watson