It's all about the shiny
Unsurprisingly enough, my teenager's school has just announced every one of the kids is to have an iPad or iPad mini... funded by the parents for the most part. Being a geek, and in the mobile/mobility space, I actually deemed it worthwhile going to the presentation, as you never know, with my 16 years IT knowledge, and having sold the things into Banks and stuff, I might actually have an idea of what they can and can't do.
The presentation was given with the help of some Apple salesman, and my questioning did cause some squirming... well, rather a lot of squirming actually. Especially once it had dawned on me that precisely no thought had gone into this whatsoever. Still, I did enjoy myself tearing apart the hapless board of governors, teachers, and assembled muppetry for 90s minutes. A Phrryic victory, but a victory nonetheless.
In a nutshell, none of the self-congratulatory leftie halfwits had thought to consider than 1500+ kids in uniform carrying £300 devices in any way presented a security risk. None could articulate what actual benefit having an iPad would bring the classroom that didn't already exist with current tools. No plans were put forward to accommodate the built-in redundancy of Apple devices. Nor were they able to explain the selection process for the associated MDM software (after I'd explained what MDM means).
Just for japes I asked whether they'd considered something like the Chromebook. It has a keyboard, no data on the thing, longer battery life, is fixable should the screen get broken, far more useful for actual computing tasks, can be used for writing homework on, and in all probability Google would give them away for nothing, and a Cloud OS gets round the problem of people leaving the things on buses/in the dog. Again, had never occurred to them.
Then the final thing, which probably aggravated me more than anything else - yes, the school will continue to expect homework and coursework to be created in Word, Powerpoint, and Excel.
Bloody fools, the lot of them.
My own, geeky, view is that if you want to encourage an interest in IT/programming/software a far better plan would be to set as 3rd year (whatever that is in modern terminology) curriculum with "Here's a Citrix licence and 2FA fob. Now, get yourself online. Minimum specification is on this sheet of paper. Go off and learn about IT - it really isn't that difficult. Extra points/marks awarded for the least amount of money spent. Extra marks if you buy the thing off eBay and completely replace the OS. Automatic A++ Distinction if you rock up with a £30 old 10" netbook now running a new OS and with a Pixel Qi screen." Yes, it would be absolute chaos, but probably cheaper than forcing iPads on everyone... keep the IT Teacher busy though.
Most kids are remarkably technically capable, more than most of us older generation will give them credit for. My 'don't give a monkeys about computers' teenager figured out torrent on her laptop, how to bypass or disable most of the security/content controls I put on, and then when I took to turning off the Wi-Fi at 11pm she broke into next door's WPA2 network... (although oddly still doesn't understand about clearing temp folders).
Anyway, the penny dropped at the end when the head said something along the lines of "this will improve the teaching experience at the school". Which is basically what this is all about - teaching. 'Learning' is something else entirely, and doesn't seem to figure.