All digital: the Los Angeles schools debacle

The project in  Los Angeles district (1124 schools) to equip all 640 thousand students with iPad was temporarily suspended (iPad initiative on hold ).

The investment to revive the results a bit ‘ poor students and Californians ‘ of $ 1 billion , which will add $ 373 million for infrastructure wifi .This is the  more extensive program in the United States for the digital equipment for students. The pilot phase of the project involved an investment of 50 million dollars for the purchase of 31 thousand iPad,  which 25,000 have already been distributed. The first problems occurred in the first week  students bypassed the block to access the social network – for these reason it was forbidden for students to take home the iPad (of course students have already declared that they will find a way to overcome the re- controls). There are also problems  on the cost side that have been underestimated: estimated costs should be tripled and it would need at least 152 trainers to teach the management of the tablet at school and any related problems, and it is estimated an annual cost of maintenance of 20 million dollars , which would be added another 600,000 dollars to improve safety management. The nodes appear to be coming home to roost: wifi networks don’t work and also the educational content provided by Pearson and Apple included in the delivery aren’t complete, although in each case the provision will expire in three years. In the committee that manages the operation has anyone questioned the choice of iPad proposing the purchase of cheaper and more versatile notebok: Superintendent John Deasy had to refute rumors about his alleged resignation. From the articles it’s not possibile to understand it teaches were trained  in terms of methodology. I hope that someone who knows the project of Los Angeles in deep,  will  soon write an useful “guide of things to do for digital school” , would definitely a better service to those who call a school “all digital “, perhaps evoking South Korea and Finland as examples , without knowing anything of their education systems and cultures.

On the sidelines, I beg a moment of pride as Dschola Association: with the project Digital School in Piedmont, in 2011 we set up the first introduction of “substantial” netbook in school. We started with an analysis of the OLPC project and wiht a first trial in a small number of classes, then the model was used for 700 netbook for 28 classes. The provided netbooks, was provided to  the pupils, pre- configured by other older students with a selection of default software on board,  selected in collaboration with teachers , and equipped  for a safe navigation. Teachers were provided by a content sharing platforms, teacher training and assistance in the event of a malfunction (which thanks to the reinforced configuration were very few). The netbook is brought home from elementary and high school students and their families were accountable, A perfectible model, especially in terms of training, that maybe left some faculty and some student discontent  but in the end it proved to be very solid.

For those interested Dschola mark next Open Day on 28 November at 14.30 at the Institute . Avogadro di Torino .

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