When I was in Kindergarten, all I had were puzzles and watercolors. Kindergartners in Auburn, Maine will have access to thousands of apps in the App Store.
Auburn Maine, a town of 24,000 is set to provide all of its Kindergartners with iPads in an effort to link education and technology for the very young. The town's school board voted unanimously to provide 285 students with iPads by next fall. With the current prices, the investment is projected to be about $200,000.
This is not the first time Maine has looked technologically forward. In 2003, they were the first place where every 7th and 8th grade student was given access to laptops. iPads are already being used in classrooms around the country including Paducah, KY, Charleston, SC and Scottsdale, AZ. But this is the first town to give iPads to every Kindergartner.
The AP quotes teachers in the district:
"It's definitely an adventure, and it'll be a journey of learning for teachers and students," said Auburn kindergarten teacher Amy Heimerl, who received an iPad on Tuesday ahead of the full deployment in the fall. "I'm looking forward to seeing where this can take us and our students."
"The more education teachers have using these tools the better we can enhance children's learning and take them to that next level," said Heimerl.
Of course, some people are concerned about the new program. Some feel that since the kids will be able to take their iPads home with them, the chance of breaking them is sky high. Taxpayers don't want to waste money on trashed iPads. Some worry that all that time staring at a screen will hurt the kids.
The iPad has tons of apps that could be used for educational purposes. Games, reading tutorials and math programs would allow kids a fun, engaging way to learn. Former Maine Governor Angus King thinks it is definitely all about engagement.
"If your students are engaged, you can teach them anything," King said. "If they're bored and looking out the window, you can be Socrates and you're not going to teach them anything. These devices are engaging."