This fall, Kinder-gardeners in Auburn, Maine are going to all be getting Ipad 2′s, for free. One of the teachers in the reading development labs started using her personal Ipad 2 with some of her most troubled students. They showed such remarkable progress so quickly that the school board decided to jump in and give it to all of the kids this next year.
Superintendent Tom Morrill commented, “When you take a look at what the IPad 2 can do and you look at the wealth of apps that are out there, everything from learning your letters to books that can be read… fingerpainting, you name it. It’s absolutely something that we must do.”
Maine has a history of providing useful technology learning to students. I remember hearing about Maine being the only place in the US where kids got to use the OLPC laptop. They’ve also done a number of other laptops for students programs over the past few years. In 2009 they rolled out a lot of MacBooks. Parents and educators in rural areas thought those new-fangled machines were too expensive. In response the schools developed their own linux distro, Open 1 to 1.