Some parents oppose Maine’s kindergarten iPad 2 program

“Recently, the school board in Auburn, Maine decided to launch a pilot program which would place an iPad 2 in the hands of the district’s 300 kindergarten students,” Kelly Hodgkins reports for TUAW. “While school officials hail this program as ‘a revolution in education,’ some parents are questioning this decision.”

Spearheaded by Tracey Levesque of Auburn, the Auburn Citizens for Responsible Education are mounting an opposition to the school board’s iPad 2 program,” Hodgkins reports. “The group questions the effect of handing iPads to children who are not ready for the technology and objects to the use of taxpayer money to fund this experimental program.”

Hodgkins reports, “The group plans to argue its case against the iPad 2 at an upcoming School Committee meeting to be held Wednesday, April 27… For a different (positive) perspective on iPads in primary education, be sure to check out Mac developer & school IT director Fraser Spiers’ blog.”

Read more in the full article here.

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

MacDailyNews Take: The 4, 5, and 6 year olds we’ve seen using educational apps on iPads operate the devices just fine – and that’s without a curriculum in place or teachers present.

Related article:
Maine kindergartners to get Apple iPad 2 units this fall – April 8, 2011


  1. Keep politics out of the classroom. Let the kids learn.

    Auburn Citizens for Responsible Education = ACRE.

    It should be,
    Children and Apple Revolutionizing Education = CARE

    1. I myself haven’t used a pen and paper for practically ANYTHING at all for at least 12 years now. I take my notes on my iPod touch (whenever I need to write anything down); everything else is typed/printed on one of my Macs. I don’t even write cheques anymore, since all my bills are now paid online.

      There is still a generation of people who know how to properly light a petroleum lantern, or how to properly harness a horse to a horse buggy. I am almost 50, but alas, I never learned those essential skills…

    2. Yeah, they’ll have no idea how to ride a horse or milk their own cows either.

      Where in the story did it say iPads would be used INSTEAD of pencils? It’s called a supplement to their education and a darn good one at that.

      Proving once again, you can’t fix stupid.

    3. I’m much more concerned that schools give short shrift to grammar, writing, science, and math. The curriculum is driven by two things:
      1. high stakes tests that measure test-taking well, but not thinking
      2. politic,s as in Texas and Kansas where religion trumps science and ideology trumps history.

      1. Sounds like you have some irons in the fire here, 8. Been teaching long? BTW, how do you propose to measure “thinking” in today’s classrooms? I know: “I THINK i’m doing well in math and science, Mr. Jones. That’s good enough for ME.” Oh, and that’s a nice shot at Kansas and Texas. Gawd, but you’ll take Detroit and Compton and Denver and Washington DC and . . . and . . . and . . . any day, huh? No religion there. No ideology there, right? Man, don’t look now but your naivete and prejudice are showing.

        1. He is absolutely right on both counts. I am not against testing, but testing has become the overwhelming focus under Bush’s “Every Child Left Behind” program. How do you reconcile that policy with smaller federal government? And Texas politics and education is steered far too strongly by religious influences. Texas and Kansas are not the only states suffering from that malady, but they stand strongly near the front.

  2. My 18 month old daughter can unlock our iPad. She can select an applications all on her own. She will bring the iPad to me or my wife when she wants us to put on youtube videos for her. (elmo, babies laughing, etc) I am currently trying to show here how to access these videos herself by selecting them as favorites. Hasnt caught on but again she is only 18 months old, i am sure a kindergarten class can do it. I think the ipad is a perfect tool for a baby since they communicate some much by pointing.

  3. Was just talking to my Mother last night and she told me about my 2 year old niece playing with her mom’s iPad at dinner the other night. She’s has already learned her colors, and was using a puzzle program to reconstruct animals, to help learn her ABC’s. It’s her mother iPad, but they can hardly get it away from her. 2 Years old!

  4. It’s about the software. Not about the gizmo. Fisher Price have had computer like things for years.
    The kids will learn.
    As to pencils, I’d be surprised if you could pry crayons (crayolas, for you Americans) out of their hands regardless of the gizmo handed them. Just give them a newly painted wall and a box of crayons, and voia! Creativity and fine motor skills, all in one.

  5. I don’t think it’s fair that my kids will be smarter and better endowed technologically than I am. How can I be an effective ogre if they can just compute circles around me with one finger, while I have to struggle to use ten?

  6. I think they mean the PARENTS of kindergartners aren’t ready for technology. The kids will figure this out faster than they can down a Happy Meal.

    Hey parents, how about all the textbooks the school won’t have to buy (or will buy at a discounted price), and the significantly less weight your little Johnnie will carry to school each day in his backpack?

  7. I have a 4 year old son with an ASD. It is amazing what my iphone and now his iPad2 has helped him learn. Speaking in ignorance will always hold society back.

    Poor kids. I hope they do get them, the results will speak for themselves.

  8. My 3 year old son has had an iPod Touch for almost 2 years and been playing on our iPads for almost as long. They are great tools for learning reading, cause and effect, logic, numbers and more. Developers have really done some amazing work writing apps for kids and ours has clearly benefited from them. Like any other teaching tool, the teacher is key.

    It would be helpful if they were categorized by age.

  9. Ridiculous! My 2 and 4 year old grand daughters use and play with my 2 iPads all the time. They could a year ago when they were 1 and 3 years old. How does a 3 year old know her way around an iPad? She has been using my iPhone for as long as she could hold and point at it’s screen.

    Is the problem really that the adults in Auburn, Maine can’t use them? No problem, my 2 and 4 year old grand daughters can teach them.

    Idiots. Give the kids a chance to be all that they can be not what your limited vision can see them doing.

  10. it’s pretty stupid that these parents dont realize that not a dime of their taxes goes to schools, roads, hospitals, or anything else. 100% of American taxes goes into the pockets of Federal Reserve Bankers to pay just the INTEREST of our government’s debt. thanks Federal Reserve!

    1. Yup – that’s right, Perry. Those teachers work for free in those school buildings that went up via bake sales. And the county sends every dime of property taxes to DC for the gubmint to pocket. Uh-huh, uh-huh.

  11. The parents questioning this approach should take note. I have two autistic daughters whose learning has been accelerated by educational apps for the ipad. Also, the ipad has a minimal learning curve. So minimal in fact that my five year old daughter has become an expert.

  12. “The group questions the effect of handing iPads to children who are not ready for the technology and objects to the use of taxpayer money to fund this experimental program.”

    First, let me applaud parents who are so actively involved in overseeing how their children’s educational systems spend public funds.

    Second, however just how do said parents expect school systems to develop new ways of educating their children without spending some funds on “experimental” programs?

    Third, how do these parents know that children are not ready for this technology… or any technology? While purely anecdotal at this point, mounting evidence appears to indicate otherwise.

    1. My cynical side wonders if they would be less upset if the tablets were Galaxy tabs rather than iPads?

      I agree with the drive to reduce waste and improve efficiency across all government functions. But this program sounds like it might actually yield good benefits.

  13. I don’t think the parents are acting like Luddites. My first concern for kindergartners would be about socialization and how to play well with others. I would be concerned that having the little ones stick their heads into their iPads would be last thing you’d want to do to help with this.

  14. My 5 year old uses our iPad almost better than we do (she started when she was 4). I doubt any of the children in that school district will be different. What is the real reason these people object?

  15. As I read the article, it seemed as though the concern was not whether the kids would or would not be able to use an iPad (I have no doubt whatsoever that kids will figure out rapidly how to use them) but that using an iPad would interfere with the development of other social skills.

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