What Did You Learn in School Today?


MORNING MEETING School is in.

New York Times By  Published: April 13, 2012

LAST month, two kindergarten classes at the Blue School were hard at work doing what many kindergartners do: drawing. One group pursued a variation on the self-portrait. “That’s me thinking about my brain,” one 5-year-old-girl said of her picture. Down the hall, children with oil pastels in hand were illustrating their emotions, mapping where they started and where they ended. For one girl, sadness ended at home with a yummy drink and her teddy bear.

REFLECTION David Kelly, director of curriculum at the Blue School, meets weekly with the kindergarten teachers.

Grappling so directly with thoughts and emotions may seem odd for such young brains, but it is part of the DNA of the Blue School, a downtown Manhattan private school that began six years ago as a play group. From the beginning, the founders wanted to incorporate scientific research about childhood development into the classroom. Having rapidly grown to more than 200 students in preschool through third grade, the school has become a kind of national laboratory for integrating cognitive neuroscience and cutting-edge educational theory into curriculum, professional development and school design.

“Schools were not applying this new neurological science out there to how we teach children,” said Lindsey Russo, whose unusual title, director of curriculum documentation and research, hints at how seriously the Blue School takes this mission. “Our aim is to take those research tools and adapt them to what we do in the school.”

So young children at the Blue School learn about what has been called “the amygdala hijack” — what happens to their brains when they flip out. Teachers try to get children into a “toward state,” in which they are open to new ideas. Periods of reflection are built into the day for students and teachers alike, because reflection helps executive function — the ability to process information in an orderly way, focus on tasks and exhibit self-control. Last year, the curriculum guide was amended to include the term “meta-cognition”: the ability to think about thinking.

“Having language for these mental experiences gives children more chances to regulate their emotions,” said David Rock, who is a member of the Blue School’s board and a founder of NeuroLeadership Institute, a global research group dedicated to understanding the brain science of leadership.

That language is then filtered through a 6-year-old’s brain.

Miles, one of the kindergartners drawing their emotions, showed off his picture and described the battle it depicted between happiness and anger this way: “The happy fights angry, but angry gets blocked by the force field and can’t get out.” Happiness could escape through his mouth, Miles explained. But anger got trapped, turning into sadness.

With ample research showing that negative emotions impede learning while positive emotions broaden children’s attention and their ability to acquire and retain information, strategies for regulating emotions are getting more emphasis in progressive schools across the country.

“The science of learning is something teachers are paying more and more attention to,” said Mariale Hardiman, director of the Neuro-Education Initiative at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. She was not familiar with the Blue School but said she would endorse any school trying to integrate academic and emotional education.

“We can no longer think that the two systems are separate,” Dr. Hardiman said, “and that children should leave their emotions at the door.”

For all the attention brain science is receiving in schools, experts say it is too soon to know whether its application will lead to improved academic outcomes. And some researchers say that while they embrace new ideas — especially around self-control — they personally prefer a more traditional approach to pedagogy.

“The older approach has led to some very good outcomes,” said Sam Wang, an associate professor of molecular biology and neuroscience at Princeton University and co-author of “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain,” a child development primer for parents.

But the Blue School clearly has its appeal. This year, it had eight applications for each spot in its program for 3-year-olds, making it a typically hypercompetitive Manhattan private school. Tuition for students in kindergarten through third grade is $31,910 a year.

 “I’m never anxious about academics,” said Thomas Bierer, the father of first-grade twins who have been at the school for two years. “My main thing is how they will interact with others and what kind of people will they be.”

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

TRIP PLANNING Shanon Greenfield and her first-grade class carefully plotted a visit to the New York Aquarium in Coney Island.

Started in 2006 by members of the Blue Man Group, an alternative theater troupe, and their wives, the school’s original mission was to “reimagine education for a changing world.” The goal was to nurture creative and adaptive learners, not to teach students to digest and regurgitate facts and formulas. It considers itself a lab school, where teachers, parents and students collaborate; there are plans to have a teacher training program by 2013.

Teachers ask questions but rarely offer answers, instead helping students learn from one another. “Learning is not an individual act,” David Kelly, the school’s director of curriculum, said. “It’s a social act.”

In November, Shanon Greenfield asked her first graders what they wanted to study. Sharks and leaves each developed a strong following. Over weeks of discussion, the students decided they should go to an aquarium to learn more about one of the topics they had picked. Ms. Greenfield posted a road map for their research. What do they know? What do they want to know? How will they find it out?

The students set goals: Pick an aquarium, figure out how to get there, plan what to do while there and afterward. By mid-January, they were pondering transportation options: school bus (free) or ferry (one student thought it was most direct). They set a deadline for the trip, and in February visited the New York Aquarium in Coney Island — by bus.

“The end goal is not facts about sharks,” Ms. Greenfield said. “It’s not to recreate anything. The end goal is the process.”

Other progressive schools in Manhattan and across the country take a child-centered approach to education, with a heavy dose of social and emotional learning. But many of them turn toward a traditional academic curriculum by second or third grade. Testing, with all of its anxiety, kicks in, and content, not process, becomes paramount.

This being New York, even Blue School parents are not immune. Starting last year, when the oldest children in the school became second graders, parents began voicing increasing concern about the school’s lack of traditional assessments. The school had been preoccupied with moving almost every previous year. But with a permanent home established on Water Street, the parents, in town hall-style meetings and group discussions, asked the school to do more testing.

One parent who supported the push was David Beal, an adviser to the president of National Geographic, who noted that the school will end at fifth grade and that the children will be thrust into a test-happy world. “We don’t want to find out after we’ve left that we’ve missed some important chunk of learning,” he said.

The school responded. Four-year-olds are now being given a standard private school assessment, and this year for the first time, third graders will take the E.R.B., a widely used test.

Even with the changes, the Blue School is not for everyone. Emily Glickman, founder of Abacus Guide Educational Consulting, said her clients found it a “little too artsy and alternative.”

“I find more and more, for their tuition dollars, families want tradition, structure and the three R’s,” she said.

Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, a neuropsychiatrist and co-author of the parenting guide “The Whole-Brain Child,” who is also an adviser to the school, said there were three others R’s: reflection, relationships and resilience — and schools should teach those, too.

He spent three days at the school in late March working with students, teachers and parents on topics ranging from what learning is to why multitasking was not good for the brain (concentration is better at creating neural connections, which result in long-term synaptic change, otherwise known as learning). “Kids who learn social and emotional skills do better academically,” Dr. Siegel said. “They are happier, and their emotions are more rewarding.”

So what happens when you do too much multitasking, he asked some third graders. “Your brain explodes,” said one girl, squirming. “Ew.”

The State of the Education Union


Several things President Obama said in his State of the Union address stayed with me long after the channels covering the speech cut back to their reality shows. First he asked schools to stop teaching to the test, an allusion to the No Child Left Behind program. Then talked about rewarding excellence .

Having consulted with one of the major companies that develop that test, I have a firsthand understanding of what No Child Left Behind is all about and how the tests are developed. I was struck by the thought that in this country, when we teach to the test, two things happen.

First, when we do test we are not asking for a very high bar. Too high a bar and too many would fail. Too low a bar and too many would pass. The test question for all of us is which group determines where we set the bar, and what committee decides what’s just right?

Second, as we have seen, when we teach to the test learning becomes a competitive sport. It’s crazy at this point in the evolving history of Thomas Friedman’s flat world to be competing against each other, student against student, teacher against teacher, class against class, school against school and district against district. For what prize? To not fail the Annual Yearly Progress report and continue teaching for another year? To score on or slightly above the mean?  To be average?

In China, one of our real competitors, there is no expression for “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” The closest equivalent is “Fool me once shame on me.”  The schools in China work together to help their students reach excellence, to be amazing and know awesomeness. They set the bar so high that everyone is better for trying to reach it.

We need teachers who will raise the bar. Teachers who will help students reach as high as possible. Getting rid of tenure for teachers who entered the profession without any passion or excitement or a love of teaching, who should never have entered a classroom in the first place is a good thing.  And letting go of those who, if they ever had it, have forgotten it, who are simply tired and ready to move on, is also a good thing. We are not the competition in this new Idea Economy. And this is surely one case where just showing up is much less than 90% of the job.

The Numberlys are iPad Learning Rockstars!


I first read  about “The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore” last summer in an article in Fast Company by John Pavlus. I was to say the least ‘gobsmacked’. It was an amazing look into the future of ebooks for learning, admittedly aimed at a much younger audience than you usually see in the workplace. It ignited my imagination when I started to envision ways it could be used for educating learners who had entered their age in double-digits.  Take a look …

I thought after that ebook, produced by Moonbot Studios,  there there would be years of copycats and catching-up before the work was excelled.

Boy was I was wrong.  And never more happy to be that way …

Moonbot Studios has not done it again. Actually, they have outdone it again. The new ebook on the iPad is called “The Numberlys,” about a group of amazingly adorable out-of-the-numbers-box characters who create ” The Alphabet”  in a spreadsheet boring and rigid universe ruled only by The Numbers. They build it from parts and pieces of the numbers.

Before I say another w..o..r..d, take a look at the video.

The ebook takes about 15-minutes to read through if you skip the games that are part and parcel with the story. I especially like the game “V” which is the letter V spinning faster and faster until you spin it fast enough to make it a “W”. It may sound like Sesame Street but it’s not. It’s a beautiful example of a direction that learning can take when the lessons are taught by bright, creative and very talented teachers, aka ebook creators, who obviously love what they are producing and are pushing the boundaries of the new technology to a new level.

PS. The added pieces on Vimeo about how the ebook came together are entertaining and interesting on theor own. Kudos to Moonbot Studios.

 

The Best 100 of 2011


Jane Hart is one of my great “go-to” resources for all things learning. Every year she posts a great review of the Top 100 Tools. Here it is and Thanks, Jane!

“Yesterday, I finalised the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2011 list.  In the last few days of voting  there was a surge of contributions (both online and by email) that brought the number of contributions to 531.  Many thanks to everyone who took the time to share their Top 10 Tools and help me compile this, the 5th annual survey of learning tools.” Jane Hart

THE Future of Education is Blended Learning


This is a MUST WATCH for anyone interested in the future of what we today call the K-12 grades. And if the past gives us any signage on the road to the future, it also is about the way we will learn in colleges, universities, corporations and other organizations.

There are not many people today who have a clear crytal ball on the future of education. Not surprising since the past has become something of a mashup of approaches, methods and ideas. The majority of which do not work if you know the stats.

I believe  Tom Vander Ark is the exception. He is the leading education futurist and chair of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning. If you want more than you’ll get from this great video – and I know you will – you can read his new book  Getting Smart: How Personal Digital Learning is Changing the World. Tom is also  investor in General Assembly (see this month’s Fast Company Life in Beta) through his education-focused venture fund Learn Capital.  I also recommend the Fast Company article.

A Backpack Full of learning


It takes more than a village: It also takes a hotspot. TeachAClass.org is bringing wireless routers pre-loaded with online education content to provide lessons to rural communities.

One Laptop per Child

 

 

As a turbulent snowstorm whips across the vast, desolate Mongolian grasslands, a group of schoolchildren huddle over laptops, their eyes transfixed as the sagacious Sal Khan works through Newtonian physics.

But Khan is only reaching these kids because of a bold initiative from another creative edupreneur: Neil Dsouza, age 27, cofounder of TeachAClass.org, a San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to enabling access to education in developing countries. Dsouza was previously an engineer at Cisco, where he helped develop the first 4G core routers for AT&T and eventually Verizon’s mobile network.

Technology is starting to become a waste in developing countries.

Plenty of people have tried to tackle education in remote areas. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, for instance, has shipped millions of laptops to impoverished corners of the world. The impact has been faint, however, leading OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte to recently propose a more radical approach: dropping tablets from helicopters to remote villages, “then go[ing] back a year later to see if the kids can read,” he has declared.

But to those already on the ground, the idea of indiscriminately flinging equipment from the air and hoping for a positive educational outcome seems like a recipe for waste. OLPC has already donated over 7,000 laptops to Mongolia. When Dsouza arrived, he found many collecting dust on shelves. Some have not even seen the light of day, still unopened in shrink-wrapped boxes.

“Technology is starting to become a waste in developing countries,” notes Dsouza. He points to startling findings from the World Bank’s very own Independent Evaluation Group that “only 30 percent [of its projects worldwide] have achieved their objectives of implementing universal assess policies or increasing ICT [information and communications technologies] access for the poor or underserved areas.”

It’s not just due to misguided strategies like airlifting hardware, either, Dsouza says. Too many Western-driven programs have neglected to take into account geographical limitations and cultural differences—whether it’s failing to realize the lack of basic IT infrastructure in developing countries, or assuming that everyone naturally understands the potential and use of computing devices.

Haunted by memories of piles of unused laptops, Dsouza devised an ingenious plan: Bring a chunk of the Internet’s offerings to Mongolia. He packages content from Khan Academy, MIT open courseware, and other resources into portable, self-contained servers that can be wirelessly accessed by laptops and computers. These servers, which cost roughly $350 apiece, are small enough to fit in a backpack and need only a power outlet to boot up. Other laptops need only wireless capability and a browser that supports Flash to log on. What this creates, in essence, is a local intranet network—what Dsouza has dubbed an “Education Hotspot”—that allows users to access materials hosted on the server, even in areas so remote that Internet is either outrageously expensive or non-existent.

Here’s how Dsouza is distributing his technology: TeachAClass.org has a tiny team of three in San Francisco that collects free content from the web, then taps volunteers around the world to translate the material into local languages. These materials are then copied onto the backpack servers, which get delivered to local coordinators in developing countries. These coordinators—so far 12 Peace Corps volunteers in remote regions—work with teachers in schools and orphanages to set up the “Hotspots.” Content on the servers can be regularly updated via CDs or USB sticks.

The project is still very much in its infancy. So far Dsouza has deployed three Hotspots in Ulaanbaatar, two in the Uvurkhangai province of Mongolia, and one in Takengon, Indonesia—all together serving orphanages that house around 300 children. He plans to set up six more in schools in Mongolia’s Hovd province in the next few months. Next year, Dsouza also hopes to get pilot programs established elsewhere, too, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Egypt. In India, Dsouza also has plans underway to see how well the Hotspots work with the much-publicized $35 Aakash tablets, which the government has promised to provide to rural schools.

Considerable obstacles exist. Getting buy-in from local officials and educators is not always easy; some can be outright hostile to outsider advisers. But Dsouza has made sure to involve local teachers at every step of his project, providing them with the training required to effectively harness the potential of the Hotspots. It’s opened their eyes and given them a stake, he says, to the point where local teachers are taking ownership of the projects.

And then there’s the matter of funding. So far, Dsouza been bootstrapping this venture largely on his own, something he admits is unsustainable. He has considered returning to a day job to resuscitate his finances or reaching out to investors and VCs to turn the Hotspots into a viable business, despite his initial intentions to make this a nonprofit project.

But buzz around these Hotspots is—excuse the pun—starting to heat up. Dsouza has given talks at TEDxUlaanbaatar and the Global Education Conference. Earlier this year, he was awarded runner-up at the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Global Education Challenge. Even the World Bank sees potential, having allocated a small sum ($3,200) to pilot this project—not for orphans and students, but nomads and herders, who will use the Hotspots to access information relevant to their day-to-day activities and improve their knowledge on production and supply.

Dsouza remains humble about his work, framing it in terms of making the best use of existing technologies rather than creating something radically new. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel, but rather focus on finding ways to recycle technology and resources—the hardware, content, and networks—that are already in place.”

By Tony Wan, Associate Editor, EdSurge

Online Education is Ready for Disruption NOW!


Let’s have a little exercise. Walk me through this school you’d create. What do the classrooms look like? What are the class sizes? What are the hours?

It’s open 24 hours a day. Different kids arrive at different times. They don’t all come at the same time, like an army. They don’t just ring the bells at the same time. They’re different kids. They have different potentials. Now, in practice, we’re not going to be able to get down to the micro level with all of this, I grant you, but in fact, I would be running a twenty-four-hour school, I would have non-teachers working with teachers in that school, I would have the kids coming and going at different times that make sense for them.

The schools of today are essentially custodial: They’re taking care of kids in work hours that are essentially nine to five — when the whole society was assumed to work. Clearly, that’s changing in our society. So should the timing. We’re individualizing time; we’re personalizing time. We’re not having everyone arrive at the same time, leave at the same time. Why should kids arrive at the same time and leave at the same time?

Alvin Tofflers “The Third Wave” at Edutopia

Earlier this year I wrote a blog that discussed the ways that the Internet is revolutionizing education. The post featured several companies and organizations that are disrupting the online education space including Open Yale, Open Culture, Khan Academy, Academic Earth, P2PU, Skillshare, Scitable and Skype in the Classroom. The Internet has changed how we interact with Time and Space. We can be learning all the time now, whenever we want, and wherever we want. And because of that, we’re seeing explosive growth in online education.

In October, Knewton, an education technology startup, raised $33 million in its 4th round of funding to roll out its adaptive online learning platform. In early November, Khan Academy, an online collection featuring over 2,100 educational videos ranging in intensity from 1+1=2 to college level calculus and physics, snagged $5 million in funding to add two new faculty members that will create lectures for humanities and art-intensive classes.

According to the 2010 Sloan Survey of Online Learning, approximately 5.6 million students took at least one web-based class during the fall 2009 semester, which marked a 21% growth from the previous year. The Harvard Business School Review points out that this figure is up from 45,000 in 2000 and experts predict that online education could reach 14 million in 2014.

But with its tremendous growth, online education has brought up much debate between deans, provosts and faculty. Teachers worry that online education is going to take their jobs away. There’s fear on all sides about maintaining quality control. And how do you know that the student at the other end of the computer is really doing what they’re supposed to be doing?

mormon clayton christensen survivor 520x782 Clayton Christensen: Why online education is ready for disruption, now.

Dr. Clayton Christensen At The

At The Future of State Universities conference last month, which was sponsored by Academic Partnership , Dr. Clayton Christensen spoke in front of 250 of the nation’s state university deans, provosts, presidents and faculty about the challenges universities face scaling their education models and how online education can serve students potentially better than brick and mortar classrooms.

Christensen is well-known for his academic work on disruptive innovations. And recently, he’s become a key figure in the online learning community with his new book: Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns that he co-authored with Michael Horn. The two also co-founded Innosight Institute, a nonprofit think tank that studies education and innovation. This week, Dr. Christensen was asked him, “Do you think education is finally ready for the Internet?”

“I absolutely do. I think that not only are we ready but adoption is occurring at a faster rate than we had thought… We believe that by the year 2019 half of all classes for grades K-12 will be taught online… The rise of online learning carries with it an unprecedented opportunity to transform the schooling system into a student-centric one that can affordably customize for different student needs by allowing all students to learn at their appropriate pace and path, thereby allowing each student to realize his or her fullest potential….”

In a Washington Post column, titled “The Rise of Online Education”, Christensen and Horn explain how online education will disrupt traditional educational models. Looking at how the Los Altos School District in California uses Khan Academy to teach its students mathematics by having them watch lectures at home and participate in classroom workshops (see the post on flipping elearning) , the authors highlight the importance of a blended-learning environment, which is a model that includes both online and offline learning. Dr. Christensen explained why we’re starting to see this model be so effective. He said:

“The transition by which a new technology transforms the old, or takes it away, is a process, not an event, so almost always you have a hybrid in the middle just like the transition to electronic cars. It’s not unusual…

What’s exciting to me as a teacher is that this presents an opportunity to break down the departments that characterize higher education. For example, God did not dictate from heaven that literature and history are two different fields, but somebody decided they were. He never said calculus needs to be taught independently from chemistry. But someone decided they were different fields. And we teach these things as if they are indeed different from each other. But since I graduated from college I have never used calculus once on its own. I always use it in conjunction with something from another field. We graduate students with the belief that every field is a different one and the day after they graduate they realize oh my god, I can’t use any of these things independently. Online education gives us a clean slate so we can teach calculus in the context of chemistry, music in the context of history, and so on.”

Christensen explained how the University of Phoenix is spending about $200 million every year on making their teaching better. “That’s $200 million every year just on making their teaching better,” he repeats. “Do you know how much money Harvard spends every year to make its teaching better? Zero.” The reason is that Harvard defines research as creating new knowledge, while The University of Phoenix defines it as finding new ways to provide knowledge. “It blows the socks off of us in their ability to teach so well,” he says.

Rather than teachers fearing for their jobs, they should see online education as liberating. Teachers no longer need to just stand up and lecture when students can absorb the content at home. And when a teacher doesn’t have to be consumed with delivering content they can become a coach and a tutor to the students and help them on an individual basis. “Rather than it being a threat, it makes it a much more interesting profession,” says Christensen. “It’s really exciting because teachers can have deeper relationships with their students and not be so detached from them.”

Christensen talks about a man named Norman Nemrow who teaches accounting at BYU. His online accounting course is being taken by several hundred thousand students in America right now. Harvard Business School has stopped teaching accounting and instead makes their students take his course online. And then there’s Walter Lewin at MIT, whose Intro to Physics course has been taken by over 5 million people. “They are the best teachers in the world in their field,” says Christensen. “And now rather than everybody having to put up with crummy teachers, everyone can learn from the best.”

So, realistically, online learning IS disrupting the teaching profession. We will still need teachers but the skills necessary for success as a teacher will be very different in the classroom that Christensen envisions than in the one the teachers’ unions are comfortable with. In the early 19th century, British textile artisans protested the Industrial Revolution with the anti-technology “Luddite movement.” They believed mechanized looms would replace them and make their jobs obsolete. They were right.

Screen shot 2011 11 11 at 5.09.01 PM 520x378 Clayton Christensen: Why online education is ready for disruption, now.

Automation in the 19th century was the disruptive equivalent of high-speed digital technology in today’s KnowledgeEcomony, which is replacing jobs in the entertainment, manufacturing and service sectors at astonishing speeds. Self-checkout counters at the grocery store, complete with laser scanners to read bar codes, are starting to replace human cashiers. On the road, the advent of EZPass and other computerized toll machines are replacing human tollbooth collectors. The rise of online education could effectively render terrible teachers redundant, while bolstering the careers of talented educators. There’s a word for this; it’s progress in the Knowledge Economy.

In his Washington Post article, Christensen concludes that perhaps what is most critical now is to “move beyond today’s time-based rules—those policies, regulations and arrangements that hold time as a constant and learning as the variable, which inhibits the ability to move to a competency-based learning system.”

With the rise of online education, the future of learning will be a student-paced culture as opposed to our current forms of custodial education, which are teacher-based. Students can hold down a job while working on their Masters. Children in unstable homes can ask for help online instead of working it out on their own. Anyone can “go back to school” without having to really go anywhere. With online education, learning never has to end. And certain online education models actually have the potential to reduce the costs of both delivering education for the university and the cost of tuition for the student.

Human beings with the best education tend to do the best in the marketplace. “I think it will not be long before people will see that those who took their education online will have learned it better than people who got it in the classroom, and that’s exciting,” says Christensen.

The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion.

–Abraham Lincoln, December 1, 1862

Me-pod, You-pod, Everybody iPod


It used to take years and now it seems that as soon as I write a blog post about what might happen I read an article or hear a story a few weeks  later and it IS happening. The pace of change has surely changed! Here’s another example:

ipad-release(Original Import)

Are iPads on their way to replacing computers in K-12 schools? It sure looks that way. A recent survey of district tech directors found that all were testing or deploying tablet devices—and they expect them to outnumber computers by 2016.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster questioned 25 educational IT directors at a conference on the integration of technology in the classroom, and his small survey, “Tablets in the Classroom,” reveals that all were using Apple’s iPad in schools, while none were testing or deploying Android-based tablets.

Munster explained that the trend in education may be due to a familiarity with Apple devices among students and school employees.

The IT directors polled indicated that within the next five years, they expect to have more tablets per student than they currently have computers. Since iPads represent most of the tablets seen in schools, Munster said the word “tablet” is basically synonymous with “iPad.”

“Within the next five years, our respondents expect to have more tablets per student than they currently have computers” Munster said. The school districts represented in the poll have about 10 students per computer, but in the next five years, IT directors for school districts say they expect it to drop to about six students per iPad. Devices like the iPad are preferred over computers in the classroom because they provide more individualized learning than a traditional computer.

Earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook indicated that demand for the iPad is strong among education customers. In February, Georgia Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams (R-Lyons) proposed a plan to replace conventional textbooks in middle schools with the iPad. Williams met with Apple to discuss a plan to make the iPad a central component in the state’s education system.

“[Apple] has a really promising program where they come in and their recommending to middle schools—for $500 per child per year, they will furnish every child with an iPad, wifi the system, provide all the books on the system, all the upgrades, all the teacher training—and the results they’re getting from these kids is phenomenal,” Williams said at the time. “We’re currently spending about $40 million a year on books. And they last about seven years. We have books that don’t even have 9/11. This is the way kids are learning, and we need to be willing to move in that direction.”

piper(Original Import)

This article originally appeared in the newsletter Extra Helping. Go here to subscribe.