It is no doubt that the U.S. is in serious need of K-12 education reform. Honestly, someone could have hypothetically been frozen in time for the past century and wake up with a multitude of things staggeringly different, but not in education. In the past few years there has been a push for school districts to utilize tablets and iPads more heavily in hopes of advancing education in the US.
After all, when putting a $300-400 piece of equipment into the hands of children age 5-18, what could possibly go wrong?
Not only are schools across the country having issues restricting what websites and apps the students use(http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-10-24/the-ipad-goes-to-school-the-rise-of-educational-tablets#p1) , but a fair amount of these schools are also structurally unprepared for such an investment. Let me elaborate on that second point a little bit. When considering the use of a new textbook or a new novel in the classroom, it takes months of planning ahead for instructors. Implementing use of iPads and tablets takes an even more serious time commitment as it is an utterly different way of presenting content to students. In addition, some schools do not have adequate wi-fi connection(in some cases no wi-fi connection) to handle the demand of all the students or faculty in the building.
This thus begs the question: why such a large push to use iPads or tablets? As a new device there is sparse evidence that use of tablets helps children learn better or faster. In actuality, use of such devices is coming under increasing scrutiny as the potential cause for increasing amount of attention deficit in children. Some criticize the shift as a fad change in education allowing representatives and heads of these districts to say they’re improving their schools.
Obviously, I am by no means an education technology guru. There is potential for tablets to greatly assist instructors. However, it is important that whenever making such a large financial investment both pros and cons be weighed, and more research needs to be done. We have to ask: what are the issues with education in the U.S. when compared to other countries, and what steps should be taken to really solve these issues?