Sunday, August 22, 2010

Digital Tablets - Should Schools Provide them to Students?

About a month ago, I finally took the plunge and got myself a Kindle.  This was after nearly a year of following Kindle reviews, forum posts about the pros and cons of Kindles and of course watching the price drop to less than $200.  I viewed this purchase as part business expense and part reward.  After all, how could I see what my books look like on the Kindle if I didn't have one?  And then, of course, there was the whole, "I've got a Kindle" excitement.

Now call me old-fashioned, but I'm not one to rush out and get the latest digital gadget every time one hits the market.  I carefully consider the pros and cons of the device and, of course, price. With the economy still in the toilet, price is a big consideration.

All of this is leading up to an article I read in the paper today.  In a Clearwater, FL, public high school, they plan on providing all 2100 of their students with a Kindle instead of using the traditional textbooks.  Am I missing something here?  Is this the best use of tax payers money?  I can tell you that I would not be happy if I lived in Clearwater and found out that my money was used this way.  I don't know what the school department's budget is like in Clearwater, but I can tell you up here in the Northeast, schools are struggling to provide standard school materials for their students.  What happens when the Kindle breaks?  If the student drops it?  If there is a spill of soda all over the screen?  How many Kindles will each student be issued?

I was even more shocked to read further into the article and find out that a parochial school in Wisconsin will issue their sixth- and seventh-graders Apple iPads.  Are you kidding me?  iPads costs $600!!! How long do you think it will be before those kids are doing everything with their iPads EXCEPT reading textbooks?

What do you think?  Am I way behind the times or are these schools the wave of the future?