There is a story circulating that the iPad improves Kindergartners literacy scores. This title implies the hardware device or iOS is responsible for the improvements when much more likely there are specific applications responsible. After all, putting an Mac in a classroom with software designed to help literacy is more likely to improve literacy than an out of the box one.
A quote in the article confirms that the apps are the critically important factor over the hardware:
“The objective has to be learning, not just getting the technology out there,” said Muir. “We are paying attention to app selection and focused on continuous improvement — we aren’t just handing equipment to teachers.”
Yet, it does not go into what are those apps. Or the efficacy of certain apps over others. Otherwise, we will head down the rabbit holes of the past of buying technology that is supposed to improve learning, but not seeing good results because people bought hardware and random software.
Back in February, President Pro Tempore Tommie Williams of the Georgia General Assembly wanted every middle schooler to have an iPad to replace textbooks. His Senate just passed a bill to mandate high school students take at least one online class. An online class could be good for students, if it is the right class for the student in the right format by the right teacher. The wrong class could turn off the student to online classes forever. These are interesting mandates to push technology into the classroom. They just ignore that content quality is what is important (and expensive).