Chromebooks replacing iPads in some LA Schools

Nate Swanner - Jun 30, 2014
Chromebooks replacing iPads in some LA Schools

A decision by the Los Angeles Unified School District to give students iPads for use in the classroom was widely applauded last year, bringing students technology where they otherwise might not have access to it. The LAUSD is now changing course, and will begin giving 27 area high schools the option of laptops for use.

Last year, the LAUSD seemingly pushed through a program that would give each student an iPad for use. The cost to the school district was roughly $30 million. There was little discussion on the matter, and no evidence they’d entertained other options at all; no Android, Windows, or even other form factors.

Now it seems the decision to use iPads was a bad one for older students. They quickly found a way around security features, and were using the tablets for Twitter, YouTube, and other non-crucial apps and services. Distribution fell behind schedule, and the devices were pulled at several schools. Incomplete curriculum also jaded the rollout.

Now, the LAUSD is looking at outsourcing curriculum, and letting students and parents decide what’s best. The iPad made some testing difficult, and students were more comfortable on a laptop with a larger screen. The iPad initiative was expected to scale to roughly $500 million, with up to $500 million being used to upgrade school internet connections. That was courtesy of a $1 billion voter approved bonds.

The laptops will cost up to $40 million, and there is no current model for sourcing those funds. Schools will get their choice of up to 6 devices, with a few already having chosen Chromebooks. The low cost and larger screen — as well as the familiar form factor — are winning students, teachers, and parents over.

Chromebooks are already seeing their day in schools across the country (and world), so those schools that choose to implement them have a blueprint for success. Others choose hybrid devices like the Lenovo Yoga Touch, which strikes a balance between tablet and laptop. Others chose traditional models, like a Dell Latitude.

Selections for each school’s tech were made by administrators at those schools last Friday. Final pricing for devices was being worked out last week.

Source: LA Times

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