The Los Angeles Board of Education (BoE) has agreed to move ahead with its efforts to provide every student in their school system, the second largest in the U.S., with an Apple iPad.
On Tuesday, the board agreed to begin distributing Apple tablets to over three dozen additional campuses. The BOE also approved they purchase as many as needed to complete state testing on the devices.
Back in June, the board voted to purchase an iPad for every student in the district, a $30 million initiative. Now, it has expanded its goal from the original 47 schools to an additional 38, and to provide a computer to every student, teacher, and administrator in the school system, a $1 billion effort.
The BoE has voted to begin the process of purchasing laptops for seven high schools as part of a trial program — however, there have been questions raised about whether iOS tablets are the best option for older students.
Board member Monica Garcia said “The whole point of this program is to revolutionize instruction.”
iPads for Testing
BoE members have now approved a $115 million proposal that removes a cap placed on the number of iPads the district can purchase for use during the six weeks of mandatory state testing. District staff recommended 67,500 iPads be purchased, while an oversight committee recommended purchasing 38,500 devices. Senior L.A. Unified officials say the actual number of iPads purchased will fall well below the staff recommendation, but noted they will purchase more than the 38,500 recommended by the oversight committee in order to have extra on hand in case unexpected problems arise.
The district is paying $768 per iPad Air, according to the L.A. Times, a much higher rate than the usual price, but the tablets come with a pre-loaded curriculum developed by Pearson and network upgrades at the schools. Devices bought for testing won’t come with this extra software and will cost less. An Apple TV box will also be provided to every classroom.
The proposal was approved unanimously by the board, and is expected to consume all technology funds made available through school-construction bonds that are approved by voters.
Source: L.A. Times