Here’s a story about how four school districts in California are going to pilot a program that provides iPads to students instead of textbooks.
Of course, I say, “COOL DUDE!”
And trust me, you are going to hear the kids say that as well. And for the kids who get textbooks as opposed to iPads (supposedly chosen at random but I have a feeling it might not be as random as the word random actually connotes) there is gonna be a whole lotta, “DUDE, THAT SUCKS!” in the air as well.
But what is interesting to me is that Houghton Mifflin, the textbook publisher, has “teamed up” with the CA. Dept of Ed. is the one providing the iPads. (Code words decoded: I think this means that HM is actually paying for the goodies since the CDE is flat broke)
This harkens back to the idea that Jim Burke mentioned about how the next iteration of textbooks will come to us through a walled garden approach. Essentially, the textbook companies will provide the technology tools but the district will buy the content – from the textbook publisher… and then students will be owning devices that have “fences around them”. (i.e. walled gardens). so that they can’t go beyond the perimeters as set forth by… you guessed it, the textbook publishers.
Now I haven’t seen how the Houghton Mifflin iPads are going to be configured, but I do hope that someone comes forth to explain whether or not these iPads will be “unrestrained” iPads or if they will merely be iPads characterized by a whole lotta PDFs from Houghton Mifflin’s backlist of previously published academic work.
And will the kids have access to Open Source learning?
And will the kids be able to go to a competitor of Houghton Mifflin’s academic resources if there is, perhaps, a “better” lesson on a subject available over there?
I can tell you that restraining access runs counter to the nature of the web and an iPad that does not allow you to actually tap into all of the possibilities available with an iPad is really not quite the iPad that it is being purported to be.
Got my eye on this one, that’s for sure.