- Not far from Apple headquarters, the Cupertino Union School District is facing a backlash against its middle school iPad program, which aims to put a device in the hands of every child.
- The Mercury News reports parents are having a hard time restricting screen time at home, and wealthier parents bristle at being encouraged to buy their children $563 devices and save the school-issued ones for lower-income families.
- While some instructors say the devices have transformed teaching and the middle school is continuing to expand the reach of its program, a district survey of about 180 parents found less than half valued their child’s iPad work — and more than 650 have signed onto a letter urging the school to keep the devices in school.
A critically important element of ed tech initiatives is the stakeholder buy-in process, which should begin long before any new devices make it into the hands of children. If district officials believe a 1:1 initiative is going to significantly improve the quality of education they can provide, it is their responsibility to explain the rationale to parents — as well as teachers — and earn their support.
South Carolina’s District 5 Schools of Spartanburg County received initial skepticism from parents when it started to roll out its 1:1 device program with Dell laptops. A pilot helped assuage concerns, however, and convinced parents the program could be a success. A measured rollout can allow extra time for stakeholder engagement and improve the chances a given initiative will have the support of the broader school community.