Early Childhood

The Debate Over iPads for Kindergartners

By Francesca Duffy — April 11, 2011 1 min read
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Is it a good idea for schools to give iPads to kindergartners? According to the Lewiston Sun Journal, that’s the hot topic of conversation right now in Auburn, Maine, where the school committee recently voted to give kindergartners the tablet computers in the fall. That decision will cost $200,000 and a five percent hike in the school budget, reports the Sun Journal.

Nicole Fortin, a parent, disagreed with the vote. “It’s crazy,” she said. “I look at all of the budgetary restraints we have. Our school system loses money every year to certain things. This is a lot to put in the hands of a 5-year-old.” Another parent contended that iPads make “it easier for teachers to teach a larger group of kids, one on one,” therefore saving the schools the expense of hiring more teachers.

Holly Couturier, principal of Washburn Elementary School, said she’s already witnessed steady progress among the few students who have used iPads: “If they can make those gains in a relatively short amount of time, I can’t imagine where the kindergarten students are going to be at this time next year,” said Couturier.

Superintendent Tom Morrill insisted that the school district will only resort to using the budget to pay for the iPads if grants, donations, or a newly formed education fund do not come through.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.