Schools learn tablets’ limits

The Wall Street Journal Reports: As schools rush to embrace computer tablets as teaching tools, glitches have officials in a few districts rethinking the usefulness and even security of the latest technology trend. The highest-profile snafu came in Los Angeles, where a $1 billion program—funded by voter-approved bonds—to provide Apple Inc.  iPads for K-12 students came under fire after some students sidestepped the security system and accessed social media, online games and other content that was supposed to be blocked. The Los Angeles Unified School District temporarily took back thousands of tablets from students at three high schools and required the devices to remain on-campus in all 30 schools where the effort had been rolled out. School board officials called a special meeting for Oct. 29 to assess the $50 million first phase of the program ahead of votes to fund the second and third phases. Los Angeles school board member Bennett Kayser said the district’s initiative was “hastily planned” and several “red flags” were overlooked, such as the potential expense of lost or stolen devices and questions about the completeness of the installed curriculum software. Plus, he added, “There is no silver bullet or Superman here; technology is a tool, not an end unto itself.”

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Public schools in Fresno, Calif., to provide tablet computers to students

A public school district in Fresno, California, in one of the first such programs in the country, will provide each of its 15,000 students with a tablet loaded with curriculum specifically designed for the new technology, CBS News reports. The plan, scheduled to be announced Wednesday, will put a tablet in the hands of all kindergarten through 12th graders in the district’s 21 schools next year. The Central Unified School District has been working with the Boston-based educational publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for two years to develop interactive learning materials that will allow its teachers to get rid of traditional textbooks and gear instruction to each child’s level…

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