The Danger of iPads in School

Matt Hall:

We’re touring some schools for kindergarten in the fall, and I’m starting to see a trend. So far every school – every one – touted their expanding use and purchase of iPads. They downplayed their existing computers (usually iMacs or older Apple laptops) and assured the assembled parents they were getting “lots more” iPads. iPads have some really attractive features to schools – low maintenance, portability, touch screens, and so on. But they have one major downside: they’re not directly programmable. This means the first experience kids are going to have with computers is with something that feels more like a game console than a real computer. They can’t simply download something like Scratch (or other “real” programming languages) and make something themselves. There are a couple semi-exceptions to this on the iPad like Codify, but more or less you only get to run what Apple lets you.