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The iPad Goes to School

Learning how to learn without textbooks
The iPad Goes to School
Photograph by Harry Gould Harvey IV

In September, the Los Angeles Unified School District began carrying out a $50 million plan to equip 30,000 students in 47 schools from kindergarten through 12th grade with an iPad. Giving kids iPads sounds like installing candy machines on every desk, or worse, Xboxes. The educators naturally disagree. They spent $678 per iPad, loading them up with software from the Pearson educational group and locking them down so that students couldn’t wander around the Internet unchaperoned.

It took only a few days for students at Westchester High School, in southwestern Los Angeles, to bypass the filtering software so they could update their Facebook pages and stream music from Pandora. “It was predictable that people were going to find a way,” says Dominique Daniels, a 16-year-old at Westchester. “It wasn’t that hard.”