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A plan by the LA Unified School District to provide an iPad for each of its 640,000 students by the end of this year has now been suspended, and appears likely to be abandoned altogether.

Apple proudly announced the plan in June of last year, but it wasn’t too long before the arrangement came into question. Rollout was temporarily halted last September, when it was found that students were able to bypass restrictions designed to ensure they were only used for school work when taken home. A month later, it was suggested  that the school district might have gotten its sums wrong, with the true cost significantly higher than budgeted. It was then suggested in June of this year that iPads might not be the right devices … 

The LA Times is now reporting that the contract was suspended yesterday after new information and an internal report that questioned the program.

The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation.

The Superintendent in question said in a memo yesterday that “we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.”

The report which criticized the way decisions had been made stopped short of alleging impropriety, but said that “past comments or associations with vendors, including Deasy, created an appearance of conflict even if no ethics rules were violated.”

iPads already ordered will continue to be deployed at 52 schools, but the District is now focusing more on laptops. An order for 18,000 laptops is expected to see Apple among the bidders.

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13 Responses to “LA Unified School District’s “iPad for every student” plan suspended, may be abandoned”

  1. Stupid LAUSD. They didn’t properly prep the iPads for use, tried to play catch-up, and now are making a purely political move.

    This will end up costing them more in the long-run to change course mid-stream and support multiple platforms.

    Following this here in SoCal in the media, it’s clearly a political move.

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  2. don’t laptops cost more than ipads? well… unless they are purchasing dells…

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  3. While I’d love to see iPads in use in schools, the LAUSD is the worst possible organization to do this in. I knew they’d bitten off more than they could chew. At best a pilot program should have been created with one or two schools to see if this was a good idea. It seemed like a horrible idea to me. iPads are expensive, relatively easy to break, and they make the children a target for thieves, bullies, and other miscreants. There were rumors of a whole system for selling the iPads springing up with local criminals as soon as the program was announced.

    LAUSD is the size of a small city with an IT infrastructure that is not consistent across campuses. They have other more pressing needs. They were trying to fly here when they needed to walk first. Also I’m not convinced that iPads are the best tool for this. It seems like ChromeBooks make more sense. Now don’t shoot the messenger here, but ChromeBooks are way cheap compared to iPads, they are not appealing to thieves, and cranking out educational software that runs on the Google back end is much easier. They’re easier to control, MDM is aided by the fact that they’re dependent on Google to operate as well.

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    • Chromebooks are the way to go if all you want to do is write papers and get on the internet. Schools like them because all you need to do is lock down the internet to restrict them. There are plenty of good MDM’s out there for iPads problem is that most IT departments don’t set them up properly. The main problem that school corporations have is they give out the technology and provide no Professional Development on the device, then turn around and blame the device when it isn’t used or used improperly by the kids.

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      • frankman91 says:

        Completely second that; Chromebooks are perfect as low-cost, stable, low-maintenance machines for surfing web and writing papers. Also makes co-authoring and collaborating very easy.

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    • ricardogomez297167426 says:

      You nailed it on so many levels….

      While iPads hold the cool factor, they just aren’t as useful for getting text-based work done. Chromebooks in many ways are a better solution. And cheaper. I have nephews in private school and they are using Chromebooks. Works great for them. Almost zero administration from internal staff.

      I didn’t even think about the criminal element… Thieves waiting for kids after school to just pluck them of their iPads… Easy targets.

      But yes. I don’t consider many school districts competent enough to implement such a major project. Or even go through a proper pilot and testing phase. I took a tour of a school district a few years ago. A fairly well-funded district. Their I.T. infrastructure was so poorly implemented, I couldn’t believe it. They spent MILLIONS renovating their schools and didn’t have the foresight to install conveniently placed power outlets so kids can use their laptops all day. The school board just looked at me with a deer in headlights look. Totally clueless. I’ve seen smaller schools advertising for for I.T. positions paying just above minimum wage. And this is in the San Francisco Bay Area where people have many more options…

      There is a school district in Santa Clara County that does great things with the money they get from the State and parents. But many parents work for Google and other high tech in the area. Of course, the public schools there rock. But they are a rarity… The only times I see parents show up at meetings is when there is a great award to be given, serious budget issues or there is free food.

      Sad.

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  4. For a billion dollar project they better have figured out some killer software that’d make the iPad a better learning device than laptops and regular textbooks. At current stage based on software I’ve seen educational software isn’t quite there yet…IMO useless like cops riding on segways

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  5. herb02135go says:

    The LA Times has some great coverage of this issue. There is so much more going on here.

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