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How One School District Handled Rolling Out 20,000 iPads

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the accident-waiting-to-happen dept.

Education 285

First time accepted submitter Gamoid writes This past school year, the Coachella Valley Unified School District gave out iPads to every single student. The good news is that kids love them, and only 6 of them got stolen or went missing. The bad news is, these iPads are sucking so much bandwidth that it's keeping neighboring school districts from getting online. Here's why the CVUSD is considering becoming its own ISP.

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Yeah, students will use bandwidth (4, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month ago | (#47502787)

You would have gotten the same results giving them each their own smartphone or computer.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502957)

Get them hooked on locked-down proprietary software. DRM is okay. Not being able to modify or look at the source is normal and okay. Being denied learning opportunities in an 'educational' environment is okay.

This just proves the government is bought and paid for by corporations. Even the 'educational' system is screwed.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (4, Funny)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about a month ago | (#47503105)

dude, your total bs. i learned in school that linux is for nerds and virgins. MS gave us all free copies of office to use from home.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502987)

Would have provided more benefit to provide them textbooks not influenced from Texas educational cult and a updated computer lab. I love technology but this is a complete waste of money. How about we raise teacher wages and bring in some that actually give a crap? How about we spend this money on educational campaigns so that parents make education a priority in their homes?

Giving kids something to play Angry Birds / crappy facebook games isn't going to improve grades.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503261)

Teachers already make enough.
It's the districts wasting money on useless things that gets us stuck
  "According to the Sacramento Bee, the average teacher salary in 2011 was $67,871. Districts with the highest average teacher salaries in California are located near Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Los Angeles."-Wikipedia
Some quick googling seems to indicate that Coachella teachers, on average, make somewhere around $43K/year.

Maybe 35,000 in 1980. (2)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | about a month ago | (#47503623)

$35,000 was a decent Salary in 1980.
Lets inflate that 2% per year over 34 years. ( x 1.96)

Merely adjusted for inflation, that should be:
~$59,000 (from $30,000) to ~$69,000 (from $35,000)

$5/hr was also the median minimum wage for student-like jobs in 1980-85 (~10,500/yr). Over three decades later most States don't even have a minimum wage at $10 or above.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (1, Insightful)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about a month ago | (#47503671)

> "According to the Sacramento Bee, the average teacher salary in 2011 was $67,871.

How the hell is that "enough" when CEO & entertainers -- the most useless people in society -- make millions, yet the most important people in society -- teachers barely make a decent salary??

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503603)

The best education comes from the internet. It's a great idea, providing that kind of convenient painless access to whatever interest the students have. Modern education doesn't work well because it's not based on personal interest.

Re:Yeah, students will use bandwidth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503271)

You would have gotten the same results giving them each their own smartphone or computer.

Agreed...Gotta love some NEW TECH!! www.xcommsdirect.com

Mission creep. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502795)

Yes, the kids love them and yes, they probably do have educational value... but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

Public funding for education going into internet bandwidth for widgets... well, it takes a bridging argument to say that's a good thing.

Re:Mission creep. (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about a month ago | (#47502911)

I think it's less mission creep and more the school district not foreseeing what they'd need to do to make their iPad initiative work. I don't know California very well, but the article makes it sound like it's in a pretty low-wealth district: the article itself mentions that many of the parents do not own personal computers or have an internet connection, and the Wikipedia page for the district states that it's 80% Hispanic. The iPads don't seem to be useful if they're not connected, at least not for what the school wants them for (kids being able to do school assignments, parents staying involved in their child's education). The school probably thought they had enough bandwidth to serve all of their students and their families, probably never called in a network admin to see if they could support connecting anyone who lives near the school, and went through with it anyway.

Re:Mission creep. (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month ago | (#47503503)

The iPads don't seem to be useful if they're not connected

These aren't android devices that are required to be tethered to Google every waking instant to be useful.

iBooks alone with textbooks instead of physical text books, so the students aren't carrying 20 pounds of dead trees everywhere, is alone enough of a reason to do this.

Clearly they underestimated the bandwidth usage, thats kind of the point of the story, but go ahead and not read the story and tell us how they fucked it up without you actually having any clue at all.

I'm not sure you're aware of it, but not everything actually requires a constant Internet connection to function. Working offline is pretty common in the normal world, again, if you aren't on Android which does everything it can to keep you tethered to Google.

We shall see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502979)

... they probably do have educational value...

We shall see. 20,000 ipads go for roughly $8,000,000 just for hardware.

There are some nice language learning games, math games, and other elementary school level games out there from $0.99 to $4.99 and probably more that I haven't seen.

These games do make the rote part of learning a LOT more fun and it does capture one's attention - especailly in this over stimulating electronic World of ours.

But, are these iPads better than hiring more teachers and having a lower student to teacher ratio?

And we will see if the students actually use these things for what they were intended for - not Facebooking or texting one another.

Re:We shall see. (2)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47503087)

These games do make the rote part of learning a LOT more fun and it does capture one's attention

You make it sound like the "rote part of learning" is an inevitability, when it often is not; our education system is simply horrible. 99% of the time, rote memorization is not the right way to go about things, especially when it comes to math.

Re:We shall see. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503149)

Once the student understands the conceptual basis behind a particular mathematical operation, there is often immense value in gaining fluency by memorization. Memorization, particularly in elementary mathematics, paves the way for more rapid and accurate mental computation later on.

Re:We shall see. (1, Interesting)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47503285)

Once the student understands the conceptual basis behind a particular mathematical operation

But they never do get that understanding.

there is often immense value in gaining fluency by memorization.

I disagree. It only seeks to waste people's time on useless busywork. I couldn't stand doing 40 problems telling me to find the missing side of a triangle, so I simply didn't. It was a waste of my time, and so was school in general.

By coming to understand how and why something works, you usually memorize it naturally, anyway. This is what rote memorization drones just don't understand; drill and kill is extremely inefficient, harmful to education, and unnecessary 99% of the time.

Memorization, particularly in elementary mathematics, paves the way for more rapid and accurate mental computation

I guarantee you that the study of mathematics is not about quickly and accurately performing random calculations in your head. I also guarantee you that you do nothing but degrade education when you waste time handing out pointless busywork trying to test for exactly this to people who are either already capable of doing it, or do not need to do it. We have computers and calculators for that, and no, using a tool does not mean they don't understand anything, which is what the focus should be on anyway.

Re: We shall see. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503299)

Actually, rote memorization has its place, especially in math. There was a paper a while back that found that kids you memorized things like their multiplication tables performed better at higher level tasks. By making low level steps reflexive, brain power was freed up to work on more complex parts of the problem.

Re: We shall see. (1, Interesting)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47503359)

Actually, rote memorization has its place

99.999% of the time, it simply doesn't.

especially in math.

I disagree. [uottawa.ca]

There was a paper a while back

There's a random paper for everything, including for me. The fact that some papers exist that come to some conclusion means nothing, since they're likely just coming to arbitrary conclusions based on flawed tests. Our way of measuring proficiency is flawed to begin with, which is why I reject current tests.

that found that kids you memorized things like their multiplication tables performed better at higher level tasks.

Solving 40 multiplication problems that all ask you to do the same thing does nothing but waste your time on useless repetition. It won't magically make you understand the material any more than digging a giant hole in the ground with a spoon would; the information is simply not there.

By making low level steps reflexive, brain power was freed up to work on more complex parts of the problem.

Math is not about speed or memorizing facts, but about understanding. You're not just solving random, arbitrary problems, either. This is a poisonous mentality that is spread by awful educational systems all over the world.

Re:We shall see. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a month ago | (#47503191)

20,000 students with 6 text books will go roughly $12,000,000 for the books. And a lot higher percentage of these go missing, broken or damaged. As the kids are forced to lug around a bunch of books.

Re:We shall see. (4, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | about a month ago | (#47503561)

You don't actually think digital text books are free, do you?

Re:Mission creep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503013)

There are several systems across the country looking at becoming ISP's. In most cases I've heard of, its because they feel its the only way to guarantee 'net access at home to underprivileged kids. No point in sending a laptop home and assigning work on blackboard if the kids can't get to it.

ISP = can't filter? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month ago | (#47503223)

If they be come an ISP will they be forced to drop any web filters? Must drop them on request?

No forcing software lock downs or patch levels / OS limits to get on line?

Re:ISP = can't filter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503505)

On District provided equipment, for student access, the filtering is federally mandated through hand out programs like Erate, it turns into a slippery slope when a public entity like a school district (K-12) talks about becoming an "ISP" in fact I'm pretty much sure they misused the term ISP and instead were instead just thinking of switching off the Riverside county office of education's internet access pipe and going through a private provider, this can be the only reason to explain why the excess of traffic from them was affecting other school districts. Its just another technology director that doesn't know exactly what they are talking about and misusing terms.

Re:ISP = can't filter? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a month ago | (#47503577)

I doubt it - it will be treated a lot like a corporate network does now viz. remote/VPN/BYOD connectivity; you sign a consent form, and if you use their bandwidth, you agree to their terms.

Re:Mission creep... ONLY pencils! (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a month ago | (#47503123)

School districts should be limited to pencils only... and, er, maybe paper... and, er, chalk... and, er, ... OMG!! Where does it end!!!

Re:Mission creep. (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | about a month ago | (#47503125)

but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

On the other hand, it's a can of worms that probably wouldn't have needed to be opened if we had some kind of a plan to develop public internet infrastructure that was free/cheap for people without a lot of money.

I only bring this up because I would imagine some people looking at this and saying, "A public school system should not be intruding into the area of being an ISP, which has traditionally been an area for private business." I would respond by pointing out that the Internet really should be considered public telecommunications infrastructure.

Re:Mission creep. (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a month ago | (#47503539)

The claim that kids and their parents don't have access to internet is severely overstated. We are not only talking about the US, we are talking about California. There is free internet everywhere for those of us that want it. Becoming an ISP would only be to try and capture those kids and parents where the parents find getting near a Starbucks, Lowes, Safeway, Home Depot, McDonalds, etc. to be more trouble than it's worth.

Beyond that, I have to question the intelligence of buying iPads. We are not in 2010 anymore. There are plenty of perfectly capable tablets available at under $100.

Re:Mission creep. (2)

nine-times (778537) | about a month ago | (#47503669)

Beyond that, I have to question the intelligence of buying iPads. We are not in 2010 anymore. There are plenty of perfectly capable tablets available at under $100.

There are more things to consider than simply the cost of the hardware. Do the iPads have any specific features that are required for their plans? Are there specific apps that they want to use? What platforms are those applications available for? What kind of administrative tools are available for each platform, and have they already invested in any of those tools? Is their IT staff more familiar and skilled in managing a specific platform? What kinds of price cuts and support are offered by the manufacturer?

Saving even a couple of hundred dollars per unit might be a drop in the bucket when compared with the peripheral costs. Yes, IT departments everywhere might be able to save a little money on the purchase of each computer by buying all of their parts from NewEgg and installing Linux on the computer that they cobble together from parts. Still, it ends up being cheaper, when you add up all the peripheral costs, to buy ready-made computers from Dell with Windows pre-installed.

Not everyone who buys Apple products is an idiot.

Re:Mission creep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503193)

A school in my country also rolled out (Android based, something from Samsung) tablets during a government tests. Most students performance did not really change with the tablets, but a certain group learned much much much better with the tablets. Turns out that the test program had been cracked and modified to show the correct answers next to each question. Some guys could root it and install the modified version...

Re:Mission creep. (1)

rsborg (111459) | about a month ago | (#47503247)

Yes, the kids love them and yes, they probably do have educational value... but look at the mission creep. The district becoming its own ISP next? Can of worms.

Public funding for education going into internet bandwidth for widgets... well, it takes a bridging argument to say that's a good thing.

How would you feel if the school district made money off this venture thereby lowering tax burden or removing the need for "school foundation" donation culture? I, for one, would love that.

Re:Mission creep. (2)

ttsai (135075) | about a month ago | (#47503349)

Yes, the kids love them and yes, they probably do have educational value...

Actually, the question of educational value is the big elephant in the room. It is completely questionable and absolutely not obvious that these tablets have educational value. Do the kids learn more, faster, or in different ways? Can this be quantified or even vaguely estimated? There are huge IT capital and operational costs involved, and such large expenditures must be justified in terms of return.

It's telling that the article and even the discussion on Slashdot centers on technical questions because those issues are all tangential. If the main goals focus on avoiding the theft of machines and the bypass of parental controls, then the entire project is misguided. How are the children learning, and how does that learning compare to the previous system of learning? What did the $20 million buy?

Re:Mission creep. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a month ago | (#47503469)

Considering the whole iBooks is designed to allow for text book replacement thing, this is also good for the backs of students that can potentially not have to carry 20 pounds of text books with them every day.

Just because you've not bothered to understand all the ways having a tablet is a great advance doesn't mean its a 'probably'.

Schools run their own internal phone systems already? Mission creep? Just like businesses who run their own phone systems? At a certain scale its cheaper to pay a guy to do the work internally and do it in a way thats for YOUR best interest, not the guy selling it too you.

And by 'becoming their own ISP' what that probably translates too is upgrades to the existing private data lines between he schools and a bigger pipe into the district main data center to carry student bandwidth instead of buying WiFi access from AT&T/Verizon at a ridiculous rate. They'll buy bulk bandwidth instead of consumer and save a fortune.

Re:Mission creep. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about a month ago | (#47503479)

This is not Mission Creep.

Mission Creep is when the mission changes to something new. That is a bad thing.

But people use that term whenever a government program expands.

Often missions start small and grow big. That is because 1) The scope of the problem was not realized when the program started.

2) The program's scope was realized and they correctly decided to start small (which they may or may not have informed everyone ) and make sure they got it right before then went big. Often people doing this intentionally do not mention this to their enemies - as the enemies will use it as an excuse to not do the work. Why should we save the entire environment? Why should we get rid of ALL of polio? Those things cost too much!!!

The worse case is when the people against the original program complain about 'mission creep' when the plan to save the few people who lived to 65 from abject poverty suddenly becomes saving all the many many people that live to 65.

This is not mission creep. This is simply maintaining the original program and making sure it worked, even though the problem is now a lot bigger.

Re:Mission creep. (1)

Chryana (708485) | about a month ago | (#47503543)

I think they should collect some statistics on network usage. They might suddenly start using a lot less bandwidth if restrict access to a few sites.

Re:Mission creep. (4, Insightful)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about a month ago | (#47503673)

When I was in school I was always excited to go to my science class because we did experiments.... unfortunately my kids never got to experience that due to, possible danger, funding, and insurance considerations all they did was read about it. {but they still have football}

I would rather they bring back science to science classes...

What about the married students? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502801)

Do they not get iPads?

School district ISP (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a month ago | (#47502819)

>> why the CVUSD is considering becoming its own ISP

Because they are in Palm Springs and money falls like leaves there?

>> Metrics are hard to come by after only a single school year

Don't they already have standardized tests? (http://www.gamutonline.net/district/coachellavalley/displayPolicy/244798/6)

Re:School district ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503121)

CVUSD is at the poor end of the valley, not in Palm Springs.

Re:School district ISP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503659)

Because of transition to the computerized SBAC test from previous years of STAR testing, the test results did not count this past school year in California

Expensive? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502821)

iPads may seem expensive to some people but when you consider the price of traditional books, an iPad could be a bargain. When I was in school some twenty years ago, textbooks were $50-100+ a piece. They would get replaced every 2-3 years. A iPad plus some sort of open courseware could be a cheaper solution and it would be easier on the backs of the students.

All this being said, the public school I went to would replace books every couple of years. I actually spend my first six years in private school and they would keep their books for much longer. I remember one book that was around 12 years old with most being 5-6 years old.

Re:Expensive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502905)

Except that the iPads will inevitably fall behind on the technology curve and need to be replaced just as frequently as books. I would say 2-3 years of usage out of them before needing to be replaced would be about standard. Maybe push it for 4 years before the device needs to be decommissioned and replaced.

I expect that in the end, this all electronic textbook format would end up costing just as much as the traditional method of buying and replacing books.

That being said, my public school kept books far longer than 2-3 years. Mostly because Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Calculus don't actually change very much over the course of a decade. Subjects such as English and foreign languages can see you reusing books for quite a long time as well. Especially when it comes to literature, unless they change the proscribed course materials.

also battery life after 2-3 years will start to go (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month ago | (#47503107)

also battery life after 2-3 years will start to go down as well.

Re:also battery life after 2-3 years will start to (1)

ericlondaits (32714) | about a month ago | (#47503527)

Mi original iPad is having his 4th birthday in 4 weeks.

The bad:
- It's not compatible with iOS 6 or 7.
- It has problems with very JS-heavy websites (mostly those filled with Facebook and Twitter buttons that run in their own iframe and display number of likes and that kind of thing) which make it crash due to lack of RAM. Saner sites (such as Slashdot) work perfectly.

The good:
- It still works perfectly for reading books and comics, which I bought it for, music apps, playing videos, Facebook and Twitter etc. I haven't run across many non-compatible apps... mostly modern 3D games.
- I assume the battery life has gone down, but to me it's not noticeable.

And I believe the iPad 2 will last longer, because it was a big jump in terms of CPU and RAM and can still run the latest iOS.

Re:Expensive? (1)

ChadL (880878) | about a month ago | (#47502923)

The digital versions of textbooks that I've thus far seen are anything but free, unless the district got a special deal on the digital text book versions for the iPad's that make them less expensive. Without having said numbers (that I'm sure are under multiple NDA's) speculation on the overall price is difficult.
Looking at the Google Play textbook store (because its easy to look at and ebook prices seem the same across sources in my experience) they are between $40-$50 each, and then couldn't be transferred between devices (e.g. students) if they are given rather then loaned the iPad (article uses the term 'given'); again could be changed with a special contract.

Re:Expensive? (3, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month ago | (#47502947)

>textbooks were $50-100+ a piece

They cost that because the publishers are in a nice corruption loop with the school boards.

The school boards bless particular books from particular publishers and the publishers update the books each year so they have to be re-purchased. Unknown benefits flow from the publishers to the school board members.

Obviously it would be cheaper for education districts to band together and commission their own textbooks that cost $0 to distribute once written. But the school boards are strangely disinterested in this option.

Re:Expensive? (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a month ago | (#47503095)

Obviously it would be cheaper for education districts to band together and commission their own textbooks that cost $0 to distribute once written.

That is an oversimplification, to say the least. Even if you have a collection of districts who paid for the development of a textbook, it still has a non-zero distribution cost once it is complete. It still needs to be printed and delivered. If you want to go without actually printing it, you have to pay for the bandwidth to host it so that people can read the electronic copy (and then come up with a solution for kids who aren't connected to the internet at home or are disabled in a way that makes computer use impractical). Parents will complain about errors and ommissions in the book which will end up dictating rewrites.

This is not a small thing you are asking for, here. Your proposal then requires the school boards to fund such productions for every topic of every grade - in some cases multiple levels of one subject for each grade.

But the school boards are strangely disinterested in this option.

Primarily because the school boards aren't in the business of writing textbooks or funding the creation of the same.

Re:Expensive? (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47503119)

This is not a small thing you are asking for, here.

No, it's not a small thing, but neither is the millions of taxpayer dollars wasting paying for crappy overpriced books that should be in the public domain anyway. Even if they had to pay someone to replace all the books, that would still end up being cheaper in the long run.

Primarily because the school boards aren't in the business of writing textbooks or funding the creation of the same.

But apparently they are in the business of wasting taxpayer money by giving slimy publishers lots and lots of it.

Re:Expensive? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503225)

Primarily because the school boards aren't in the business of writing textbooks or funding the creation of the same.

WHY NOT?

I would prefer them spend their time and money doing this and [hopefully] reinvesting the savings into the district, rather than whore my child out selling candy bars and mixed nuts for new sheet music or baseball uniforms.

Seriously, rethink that proposition for a moment.
School boards developing educational materiel for use in educating students [potentially] cheaper and more efficiently?
This seems like the one thing they SHOULD be in the business of.

Re:Expensive? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about a month ago | (#47503341)

Just put the PDFs on a website for parents and school children to download.
Also put the source files up so that people can enhance the texts.

All US schools seem to have a web site, so the incremental cost of distribution is close to $0.

>Your proposal then requires the school boards to fund such productions
Minus the cost of paying huge sums to the publishers. The savings will accrue pretty darn quickly.

Re:Expensive? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month ago | (#47503391)

>> Your proposal then requires the school boards to fund such productions for every topic of every grade - in some cases multiple levels of one subject for each grade.

No it doesn't. It requires them (the thousands of them) to fund one topic at one level in one grade, then see what happens after that. Maybe don't start with social studies which might be obsolete in five years, and instead start with fourth grade multiplication which won't change in the next 50. Then go from there at an affordable pace.

Re:Expensive? (1)

knorthern knight (513660) | about a month ago | (#47503643)

> Primarily because the school boards aren't in the business of
> writing textbooks or funding the creation of the same.

Classical English literature
===================
you can get Shakespeare's works *FREE* from project Gutenberg http://www.gutenberg.org/ebook... [gutenberg.org]

Astronomy
========
http://nineplanets.org/ [nineplanets.org] (yeah, the website name is an anachronism) *FREE* and since it's a website, you don't need to order and pay for a new edition each time new discoveries are made

Evolution
=======
Tree of Life Project http://tolweb.org/tree/ [tolweb.org]

Dinosaur Specific http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/d... [berkeley.edu] *FREE* and since it's a website, you don't need to order and pay for a new edition each time new discoveries are made

For those fundamentalist schools who don't believe in evolution Project Gutenberg has the King James Bible and the Douay-Rheims version

A school district should be able to get a good chunk of its needs free off the web. Most of these sites will easily give permission to download and duplicate. Instead of handing out 16 KG of books to each student, hand out 16-gigabyte USB keys to each student with the necessary e-books and/or mirrored websites.

Re:Expensive? (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47502985)

It would be even less expensive if the government just paid someone to write books in the public domain when necessary. Hell, some great books already are in the public domain, and yet we're too busy funneling taxpayer money to scumbag corporations to care.

Irresponsible to roll them out at all... (1, Funny)

dmomo (256005) | about a month ago | (#47502851)

While quite sturdy devices, iPads are not designed for rolling. Couldn't they have just carried them out? Typical government idiocy.

and now that every kid has a new ipad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502855)

They have one more thing that stands between them and actually learning anything.

Why does every kid need an ipad to learn to read, write and do math?

Oh yea, because it's so cool and people are most concerned with cool over good educational results.

Re:and now that every kid has a new ipad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503075)

...and "OMG, FOR THE CHILDREN!!!" arm waving. This is functionally equivalent to putting those family stick figure stickers on your back car window. Everyone says the American education system is messed up and buying a crate of overpriced Apple toys is the solution?

There's only one way that that's a good idea (0)

Voyager529 (1363959) | about a month ago | (#47502861)

It's only a good idea if they can negotiate a peering agreement with Verizon so that they don't end up getting the slow internet anyway...but then Verizon will be mad at them and try to get the internet on their side by writing a public nastygram, which might actually be a good thing because Verizon will find itself on the wrong end of the "Think of the Children!" argument.

Re:There's only one way that that's a good idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502935)

It's okay, the content filter likely blocks Netflix anyhow. They will need to adjust it to allow Verizon's Redbox Instant, but I'm sure they'll be okay with that, right?

They are also in danger of going bankrupt ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502867)

http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/education/2014/04/07/coachella-valley-unified-school-district-layoffs/7429571/

"The list of positions facing layoffs are varied and wide-reaching, but the largest layoffs include instructional media technicians (19), project data technicians (18)"

You buy how many iPads then start trimming IT staff ?

File with the FCC (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a month ago | (#47502873)

Not really much of an important step, get some fiber back to the nearest colo/carrier hotel/etc, one or more 10ge, a bgp ASN and some IPv6 addresses along with some IPv4 for legacy stuff and 6 to 4 NAT.

Did anything improve? (3, Interesting)

unencode200x (914144) | about a month ago | (#47502897)

I read the article and it's scant on details about anything other than they're sucking bandwidth like crazy, taking the Internet down for the entire district, the IT guys were caught way off guard, and the kids and parents like them. The article doesn't talk about how the iPads (it also mentions some ChromeBooks) have improved or otherwise affected grades, education, or anything. Anyone that has actually done have insight on that? Yes, I've Googled it, but it'd be nice to hear from someone in the field. I'm looking at this for a school I volunteer at too. Bandwidth is definitely an issue.

Re:Did anything improve? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month ago | (#47503003)

Why do you require some increase in a number of some multiple-choice test to consider it's success?

The number-1 predictor of student achievement is "how much they like school". If students hate school, they hate learning, and grow into dumb adults for whom everything is "hard". But students that like school, even if they don't learn much in any particular year, will associate learning with fun, and will continue to do so long after school is done.

Re:Did anything improve? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503053)

So we just fill the schools with hooker and coke because "kids will really like school" and then it's all a big fucking success!

You sir win the award for fucking idiot of the year.

Re:Did anything improve? (3, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a month ago | (#47503159)

How was your childhood where at age 5 your idea of nirvana was hookers and coke?

Most children are naturally curious. Feed that curiosity in a fun way gets much better results than desks, "teaching" (that's really lecturing) and worksheets. Even if the rote memorization and stiffling environment will raise performance the next quarter. When the schools follow the corporate model of "next quarter" results, then the schools will fail. 6th grade is for making the best 25 year old possible, not the best 7th grader possible.

Re:Did anything improve? (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about a month ago | (#47503657)

Well, it was blackjack and hookers in my case. Then again, I was a precocious little scamp.

-- Bender

Re:Did anything improve? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503167)

I see your hyperbole and raise you one; you, sir, are the fucking idiot of the MILLENIUM.

What did your school do to you to make you such an asshole, anyway? Kids should like school. If we can figure out ways to engage them in learning (ipads would not be my first choice) then we stand a better chance of them not turning out like us; we don't need any more idiot ACs on /.

The bad news is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47502901)

They're going to have to replace all of them in two years when the battery stops charging. But since the school district has more money than it needs, they can afford it.

I still can't for the life of me (4, Interesting)

bravecanadian (638315) | about a month ago | (#47502945)

figure out why they are doing this in schools... everywhere...

Why do educators and parents think that just *having* these devices will be some sort of educational silver bullet?

It is much more important to figure out where they have the best value educationally and how to then integrate those benefits into the curriculum.

They always seem to have the cart before the horse.

Re:I still can't for the life of me (3, Interesting)

GNious (953874) | about a month ago | (#47503031)

I saw an online request for help (money) to put iPads into a school (It was via Stephen Colbert's twitter).
Tweeted back the question as to why it had to be iPads, if there are notably cheaper Android tablets out there ... got a reply that they come back with a reply, and then nothing.

So far I'm mostly curious as to why it has to be this specific brand, as opposed to 100 EUR off-brand Androids, and I've yet to see anyone answer that, beyond, "but...iPad!"

Re:I still can't for the life of me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503367)

So far I'm mostly curious as to why it has to be this specific brand, as opposed to 100 EUR off-brand Androids, and I've yet to see anyone answer that, beyond, "but...iPad!"

Not just the cost of the initial device (the difference being large enough to make the choice an obvious easy one), but also what runs on it. A highly regulated tool with a limited set of pre-approved programs from a third party whose interest has nothing to do with education (apple), may be good for training, but not education. Why would you choose a platform that only can use software approved by some other entity with completely different (profit) motives than you?
Why not choose a platform where a teacher, or administrator, or someone, anyone, anywhere in the world, with an interest in education, can create, upgrade, and modify applications of their own choosing (for free)?
I don't understand how americans even like ipads. The whole apple model seems very dictatorish... only pre-approved button pushing, only pre-approved haircuts, its 10 times the cost of the libre alternatives, etc.

Re:I still can't for the life of me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503371)

Highly controlled ecosystem. what more do you want?
These are the same places that banned books and filter the internet.
Think of the Children!

Re:I still can't for the life of me (2)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month ago | (#47503409)

I presume they want something with better educational software support and higher hardware reliability. As is pointed out just a few Slashdot articles below, low-end Android stuff is crap.

Re:I still can't for the life of me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503343)

apple has good salespeople. that's why.

Re:I still can't for the life of me (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month ago | (#47503411)

Parents being more involved in their kids' education is the educational silver bullet. If this is what it takes to make that possible in this district, so be it.

roll out ipads? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47502959)

Roll out Ipads... this is all I could think of:
http://vimeo.com/11480457 [vimeo.com]

cloud based systems suck bandwidth big time (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a month ago | (#47502999)

cloud based systems suck bandwidth big time.

Schools with laptops / desktops don't seem to have this much of a bandwidth issue?

Coachella Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503017)

They have a nice carrot festival, if you can get there (assuming you don't take a left turn at Albuquerque).

Good for nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503029)

Kids don't read books
Kids don't write lessons
Teaching and evaluation is replaced by online code
Everyone seems to be happy to have an iPad.

The only good thing out of this is corporate welfare.

But will they throttle netflix? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503045)

If not, then we should support them! If they will, I hope they burn in hell, with their children.

Completly Blindsided. (3, Funny)

gregsmac (945663) | about a month ago | (#47503069)

That is my favorite part. How could you not foresee 20,000 devices coming online affecting bandwidth? What is you and your teams job exactly?

Re:Completly Blindsided. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503175)

Because connectivity is magical?

Re:Completly Blindsided. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month ago | (#47503487)

From the article, it sounds like CVUSD isn't an independent organization. The school districts where you live might be structured differently, so this might not be apparent to you.

In Texas, school districts are independent entities (ISDs) with their own taxing authority. The ISD owns the land and runs the schools. Board members are elected.

In Louisiana, where I lived for a while a long time ago, the parishes run the schools. There's a school board, whose members are IIRC appointed by the county commissioners, good ol' boy style. The schools have no tax authority and have to go to the parish for money or infrastructure requests.

It sounds like California organizes school districts more like the latter than the former, though a given county might have multiple districts instead of just one as in Louisiana parishes. The article describes the county limiting bandwidth use by CVUSD, something impossible to happen in Texas as the county has no authority over the ISD.

Likewise, and to your point, the article says that the county encouraged CVUSD to deploy the iPads, and from that CVUSD assumed the county had enough bandwidth to manage this. I guess that means the county is the district's ISP, and the district isn't allowed to change ISPs or contract with a private ISP. And the county IT maybe didn't know the district was going to do this, so they couldn't point it out and try to get a bigger pipe at that level. So they didn't see the problem because bureaucracy.

Re:Completly Blindsided. (1)

TheSync (5291) | about a month ago | (#47503629)

From the article, it sounds like CVUSD isn't an independent organization.

CVUSD is an independent organization. It put "Measure X" [smartvoter.org] on the ballot in 2012 to raise $41 million for iPads. 66% voted "Yes".

CVUSD board members are elected, including [desertsun.com] Juanita Duarte, a three-term board member who is facing trial on charges of embezzlement, and Anna Lisa Vargas, a soft-spoken freshman board member who was targeted by a recall effort last year.

CVUSD is also laying off 147 workers [desertsun.com] including pre-school teachers to avoid bankruptcy.

Indoctrination (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503109)

I hope Apple are at least paying the district a decent amount to get all those kids using their product....

Outcomes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503211)

I'm sure the story is fascinating from a project management/process point of view; but are there convincing preliminary data from smaller scale studies that show measurable improvement in educational outcomes? If I were holding the purse strings on a project this large, I would want to see data from randomized controlled trials comparing iPad-assisted learning to standard practice.

Furthermore, are there data that suggest that *any* measurable differences between low and high socioeconomic status students can be equalized by giving students iPads? Most school districts who implement these sorts of programs do so with the promise of technological egalitarianism; but does putting an iPad in the hands of low income students actually do anything to equalize educational measures such as test scores, etc?

ok i'm gonna troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503237)

Article should be titled "How to cripple 20 000 people with an IOS device that they will not be using in a work environnment"

Turned down on religious grounds? (1)

statemachine (840641) | about a month ago | (#47503309)

"The only students at the school sans iPad, Dr. Adams says, are a very small number who turned it down on religious grounds."

Who would turn down a free iPad?

Turned down on religious grounds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503425)

"The only students at the school sans iPad, Dr. Adams says, are a very small number who turned it down on religious grounds."

Who would turn down a free iPad?

Parents who are sufficiently paranoid about their children seeing porn or religious/scientific thought counter to their own dogma.

And, more legitimately, the Amish and Mennonites.

Re:Turned down on religious grounds? (1)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about a month ago | (#47503445)

I would, because it's proprietary junk.

Re:Turned down on religious grounds? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about a month ago | (#47503501)

Amish?

Wrong headline (1)

dskoll (99328) | about a month ago | (#47503407)

"How one school district threw millions of dollars down the drain"

Ooh, shiny.... must be useful for educational purposes....

meh. (2, Interesting)

JustNiz (692889) | about a month ago | (#47503433)

The school my 9 year old son is at is pushing for parents to donate so they can buy iPads too.

Given iPads are like $400-500 each and a good Android tablet is maybe $150 (and also has access to a lot more useful free software than iPads do), this kind of crap makes it obvious that the education sector is at least very badly managed and more likely very corrupt. I'll bet that someone high up in the education department is getting a very nice fat kickback from Apple.

Just because of this locked-in pro-Apple money wasting mentality I refuse to donate or vote for the very populist local props in my area that want to raise our taxes to give more money to supposedly underfunded schools. Its already very clear that all they are all planning to do with any extra money is blow it on yet more overpriced Apple products.

I'm also having a hard time understanding why a 9 year old kid needs an ipad at school in the first place at all. After talking to the principal and class teachers at my sons school its very clear that they think that ipads in the classroom are somehow a self-evidently good thing, and have no solid justification other than "because tech===future". They are clearly just throwing iPads at kids and hoping something good will come of it, rather than the iPad actually being a necessary tool and part of a larger well-considered strategy with already tested/proven benefits.

I'm sure most kids would say they need an iPad too but if my 9 year old son is anything to go by, at least 99% of them secretly just want it only for gaming or as some kind of trendy fashion accessory.

See I've been there myself. I remember back in the 70's when I was a kid, the excuse/lie that a PC would help with homework was the standard and accepted way by me and all my friends.of getting a new gaming machine.

As such I believe that the onus still lies with the schools to show that iPads in the classroom are not actually just another distraction that comes between the student and the teacher. Assuming they can do that, then they still need to show some real justification why 3x $150 Android pads is worse than 1 $450 iPad with respect to actual benefit in the classroom.

Re:meh. (1)

TheSync (5291) | about a month ago | (#47503499)

Given iPads are like $400-500 each

A used iPad1 can be had for $100-$150.

Of course, I'd be more up for purchasing these if the particular school district did a randomized test of their effectiveness.

Re:meh. (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a month ago | (#47503575)

The school my 9 year old son is at is pushing for parents to donate so they can buy iPads too.

Given iPads are like $400-500 each and a good Android tablet is maybe $150 (and also has access to a lot more useful free software than iPads do), this kind of crap makes it obvious that the education sector is at least very badly managed and more likely very corrupt. I'll bet that someone high up in the education department is getting a very nice fat kickback from Apple.

Just because of this locked-in pro-Apple money wasting mentality I refuse to donate or vote for the very populist local props in my area that want to raise our taxes to give more money to supposedly underfunded schools. Its already very clear that all they are all planning to do with any extra money is blow it on yet more overpriced Apple products.

This reminds me of the 80's when a lot of Elementary and Middle schools bought Apple II and III computers and the obligatory 2 to 3 Macs. Apple had a big push to capture the educational market. After about 3 years, most of the Apple computers ended up in closets collecting dust. Universities and High Schools went with PCs and the education software market followed. In my opinion, history is about to repeat itself....

9" Nook (1)

CrashNBrn (1143981) | about a month ago | (#47503663)

A 9" Nook HD, with Google Play now included (without hacking) is $179.99. The older version with 16GB on-board flash can be had for about $50 less.

Thank God it was IPads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503453)

If it was Android, they could have afforded 60,000 tablets!

IPad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503475)

Should have called it ITampon. For your data's intimate hygene?

Love computers but where is the strategy? (1)

blue9steel (2758287) | about a month ago | (#47503551)

They've been shoving computers into school since at least the Apple II days, if not earlier. I'm not seeing much of a coherent effort to actually use them in some transformational way. I mean, if you're going to go with flip classes (pre-recorded lectures at home, problem sets at school) then this is probably a necessary step. If you're just going to keep teaching in the same way then this seems like a massive boondoggle. Sure, the kids and parents will love it because they're not paying the full price for it, it'll be subsidized by increased property taxes on everyone who lives within the district.

what works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47503555)

Books, sort-of. Reading the books is what worked for me ( PhD, Physics, etc, etc ).
Whatever form the material is, reading it and trying to understand it is essential.
That applies to everything except the technical courses.
For the technical courses, working problems, understanding the answers, the techniques, and how to go from
a word problem to an answer is how it's done. Being able to test the answer and verify it is also important,
if the plane is to fly, the car to go, and the toilet flush.
And the understanding has to be at every level that applies to the problem: from the simple force-reaction
in Physics, to the rate and balance effects of catalysts, to the dynamics of moving loads on structures, and
to how the idiots out there will try to break things......
Also - I did work ALL of the problems in several books, ( electronics, math, and physics ) and a lot of problems in
quite a few others ( Physics, checmistry, math, engineering, ). It is necessary for the understanding of technical problems.
About people and what they do when they say 'Hold my beer, and watch this!" is another matter altogether.

I crashed a Marriott's network with 150 iPads (3, Informative)

Whatchamacallit (21721) | about a month ago | (#47503569)

I deployed 150 iPads to a group at a business conference at a large Marriott hotel. We crashed the entire hotel network about 5 times. Right before we ran a video conference out of the country, we had to disable the wireless access points to make sure it didn't crash again during the video conference. They do suck bandwidth. I believe many were running Netflix and YouTube and goofing off during the meetings sucking up tremendous bandwidth. They were supposed to be running WebEx which was plenty heavy on the bandwidth. I can imagine the school is sharing bandwidth with other schools and they didn't consider how much bandwidth they needed. We knew we were going to pound the hotels network but they were unwilling for us to have Verizon install a network for our use. We had to use the hotel network which was outsourced to a rink dink vendor.

Bandwith (1)

SBatman (985340) | about a month ago | (#47503595)

What percentage of that bandwidth was iOS7 updates? Would it be better to place machine(s) at each school in the network to cache the updates rather than acquire additional bandwidth or become an ISP. I could see that when they all update it could clog the entire school network making operations impossible. Apple's documentation: "software updates can be cached on a local network server running OS X Server so that iOS devices do not need to access Apple servers to obtain the necessary update data." Back of the envelope calculation 200MB average per update (very conservative) 10 updates since iOS7 20,000 iPads 200 * 10 *20,000 = 40,000,000 MB = 40 TB At 1 Gbs = 40,000 * 8 /60 / 60 /24 = 3 days of full bandwidth.
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