Should Kindergartners Have iPads?

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It’s been shown that tots take to iPads like ducks to water. One school district in Maine will hand them out to 5-year-olds in the hopes of boosting reading skills.

An iPad pilot program in Auburn, Maine will put them in the hands of kids in certain classrooms in May and all six elementary schools in the district next fall.

Officials hope to improve literacy rates from 62 percent to 90 percent in two years with the iPad scheme. The school committee recently approved spending of about $200,000 for 285 iPads for both students and teachers.

“When you look at what the iPad 2 apps that are out there, from learning your letters from books, that can be read, finger painting your name, it’s absolutely something we must do,” said superintendent Tom Morrill.

A couple of people representing taxpayer groups at the hearing to approve the expense balked at the program.

One of them, Leroy Walker, leader of the United New Auburn Association, said the iPads “are not needed in the kindergarten age.” He called the tablet “a toy.” Kindergartners “are a little young to be starting off with iPads. They’re too expensive,” he said.

My first thought: while the iPad is a great teaching tool, kids this young probably already spend enough time playing with their parents’ computers at home, in the car etc. Kindergarten is probably a better place to run around pelting soft blocks at each other and real-world finger painting rather than staring at individual computer screens.

What do you think?

Via New Bangor News, WLBZ2