A school committee meeting in Maine might just reveal why Apple’s iPads are having a tough time breaking into the classroom.
Last week, a technology director for Auburn district schools presented a study that indicated that students and teachers in grades 7 through 12 overwhelmingly favor laptops over iPads, reports the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal.
But the most surprising part of the study is how some of the teachers and students feel about iPads.
One teacher cited by the study said that the iPads “provide no educational function in the classroom. Students use them as toys,” adding that word processing is “near to impossible.”
One teacher even said “the iPads are a disaster.”
Students weren’t much more positive, according to the Sun Journal. “WE NEED LAPTOPS!!!” one student reportedly wrote three times in the study.
Ultimately, the Maine Learning and Technology Initiative will offer school districts the option to “refresh” and swap their iPads for MacBook Airs. Minutes from the Auburn School Committee meeting have yet to be published online.
According to market researcher Futuresource Consulting, in 2013, iPads and iPhones accounted for nearly 39% of educational purchases. But in 2015, iOS devices only accounted for 19%.
According to IDC, in the third quarter of 2015 – an important quarter as students head back to school – Chromebooks accounted for 78% of all notebook shipments to U.S. schools.
The iPad learning curve
Apple has signaled it wants its iPad to be used in schools. Earlier this year, Apple updated its iPad software with a new Classroom app that’s designed to help teachers guide students through lessons.
Earlier this year, Apple bought Learnsprout, a startup that made a dashboard for teachers and administrators to analyze student data.
But the iPad’s push into education has had missteps. The Los Angeles school district halted its contract with Apple in 2014 over rumors that Apple and its partner, Pearson, might have recieved preferential treatment when winning the original $1.3 billion contract to provide iPads and curriculum to schools for $798 each.
Other groups, such as the Technology for Education Consortium, have questioned whether Apple’s educational pricing is fairly applied to different school districts.
Last quarter, Google’s low-cost Chromebooks outsold Apple Mac laptops for the first time – driven mostly by quickly growing educational sales.
But it’s worth noting that the Auburn school district only recently looked at iPad usage by middle and high schoolers. The district runs a program with “1:1 iPad Placement with every Auburn kindergarten student” which appears to be going well.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal took a look at an elementary school in Yuma, Arizona, in which Apple has provided each of its students with an iPad. A teacher at that school says that the iPads enhance her students’ learning.