Kansas City schools plan calls for 6,000 Apple Macs

Apple Store“Kansas City, Kan., school administrators have unveiled a program that would outfit every high school student in the district with a laptop computer by next school year.
Calling the proposal one of the most important decisions in the district’s recent history, administrators said at Tuesday night’s board meeting that the plan would be a dramatic move for a district in which about 50 percent of the students do not have access to computers at home,” Dawn Bormann reports for The Kansas City Star.

“The proposal, which has yet to earn board approval, would cost about $2 million a year. It would pay for a lease on 6,000 Macintosh computers, technology upgrades to wireless access, support and more,” Bormann reports.

Bormann reports, “If approved, every high school teacher and student would be assigned a machine each year. Students could tote the laptops in and out of schools just as they do textbooks.”

“If board members approve the proposal, laptops would be distributed to teachers before school dismissed for the summer,” Bormann reports. “The extra time could give teachers a chance to start thinking about refocusing some teaching strategies.”

Bormann reports, “Students would not be assigned a computer until at least November. Grade levels that would receive the laptops generally would be ninth through 12th. Many of the existing high school computers would be distributed to elementary and middle schools.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Kansas City school administrators obviously have their act together on this one. The only type of hardware that school systems should be considering today are Apple’s OS-unlimited Macs. If any school system is considering spending money on OS-limited PCs from HP, Dell, Gateway, or any other PC box assembler, taxpayers should complain loudly because their money would be slated to be wasted foolishly. Only Apple Macs can run the world’s most advanced operating system and, if need be, Linux variants and Microsoft’s porous Windows.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Shinobi” for the heads up.]

23 Comments

  1. Big mistake. Nobody uses Macs in the real world.

    How are these kids going to know how to import Microsoft’s marvelous clip-art into PowerPoint, or make a sign in Microsoft Word to put on the company refrigerator which informs coworkers that it will be cleaned out every other Friday? How will they play the e-mailed .WMV attachment of a monkey peeing on himself?

    How does a Mac prepare kids for the working world with Apple’s toys?

  2. Anecdotically speaking, my two girls (middle and elementary) have enjoyed their iMacs. They always complain when they come why the computers at school are not as easy to operate, and, slow to get going. Their school use pc’s–dells, I believe.

  3. I’m from the KC area originally and the Kansas City, KS that the article speaks of is a smaller community than the MO one, but it seems that the once blighted city has really come around! A few years ago the Mayor successfully accomplished the task of bringing one of the best NASCAR race tracks to the Midwest (KCK) and along with it a really gorgeous shopping area known as “The Legends” and now they seem to be getting serious about their education of their little ones! Go KC!

  4. Obviously I’m late in responding. I appreciate the comments to my initial posting. One pro and one con. I guess that’s the way it is. I absolutely agree kids should learn about and use computers, regardless of socioeconomic class. But, and it’s a BIG but-I’m not sure the way to go is to give expensive laptops to kids to take home. Using them at school UNDER ADULT SUPERVISION causes me no problem. Giving expensive equipment to the average 9th grader, to take home if they’re the same goofballs as my friends and I were at that age is only asking for trouble.

    And I’ll bet a large number of those without a computer at home aren’t going to use them to “study” anyway. Music, iChat, porn, you name it, but used mostly for study? I’d still like to see some proof of that. Phones are used in classrooms now by students to call each other during tests to cheat. Why should a box at home be any less abused?

  5. Shogun, I agree 110%. Well said.

    People keep missing the point. They’re too worried about whether a computer will make their kid a better math student, do better in social studies or some other class etc.

    Kids already have “conventional” cources for this stuff in school. Students/workers/leaders/teachers of the future need to know COMPUTERS and all they encompass. If you don’t have the years of exposure, you’re way behind the curve. You must be a ‘digital native’ and it’s a shame to be of the younger generation and grow up with the same handicaps of our older (digital immigrant) generation because of our being short sighted.

    Even if a computer in their hands doesn’t help them one bit in improving their traditional studies (which is VERY very unlikely), learning to use one intimately should be considered as important as the rest of their daily curriculum.

  6. I am a teacher who has used computers every day of my life since 1981. I am an expert user of at least 50 applications from word processing to Photoshop, CAD-CAM, etc.

    They can do a lot of things. They do work well for creating projects that cannot be done any other way, such as multi-media, and for things like writing, etc.

    Interactive drills are great, but you must have the time to develop them yourself so that they fit what you are teaching your students. Usually what happens is that you end up buying a pre-packaged “interactive” program that is nothing more than a basic powerpoint with some Microsoft graphics popped in.

    If your can develop your own stuff, but then create activities that that students just watch, as opposed to something that is truly interactive, you WILL see a DECREASE in learning. And that IS the kind of activities that you will see the majority of the time. They are just like the boring powerpoints that you see at business or education conferences. Why would you think it would be any different?

    Developing one great Keynote or multi-media presentation that it truly interactive and does what I really want it to do is a 10-40 hour project, and you will use it for maybe one week because you have to move on to the next curriculum item for which you have to develop ANOTHER project. Hopefully you can use it the next time you pass through that part of the curriculum.

    We will never see the be all, do all magic computer program that can do what a great teacher can do on the fly. You would have to duplicate a human! It really is that simple!

    Entering grades and student information would be a disaster without computers, no doubt. I use it for student web search projects, and it can work well if I put the time in to create the direction where it goes. If I don’t do that, it becomes a babysitting time-filling tool, and that is not education.

    Use computers as necessary tools, but understand their limitations and do not try to replace humans, which really is what some people think can happen. They probably just haven’t thought it through enough to understand what they are advocating.

    And there is nothing in the world like a computer in the hands of an administrator or a college of education instructor who takes a concept that requires a 20 word explanation, and turns it into a 20 page document that requires a translator even if it is technically written using English words. If he had to type it, he would cut the verbiage to just what is important; 20 DAMN WORDS!

    FINALLY; if a student , or any human being is supplied something that they do not pay for, they will have no sense of responsibility for it and will treat it like a piece of garbage.

    If you have not seen it happen, you are not qualified to give an opinion about it, trust me. I can vouch for a situation where 3000 iBooks were given out, and within a month, nearly 1000 of them could not be accounted for and never were.

    That is not the fault of the computer, but someone had to pay for them. You can create all kinds of “rules” about how to manage that problem, but if there is no sense of personal responsibility, those “rules” will mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

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