How LA Unified screwed it up.

Holy Hell.

I’m not sure- even in my wildest dreams- that I could have dreamed up much more off a mess than LA Unified has created with it’s botched 1:1 iPad program. In case you haven’t heard, let me share what’s currently going on:

LAU purchased 700,000 iPads (at a cost of roughly $1,000,000,000). Thus far, about 700 of those had made their way into the hands of the students. And today, news has come that students have “hacked” their iPads to remove the school-imposed restrictions. As a result of this “hacking” school officials have halted the entire iPad initiative. Stopped it entirely. There are a lot of problems with this story. I’m going to enumerate them:

  1. The restrictions were delete-able
  2. Calling this “hacking” is a wild and grossly inaccurate statement
  3. Stopping the entire project effectively kills the project

In addition, they appear to have provided no training to teachers about how to use these devices in schools. Students and teachers were simply given iPads and expected to make it work.

No support = failure.

What angers me more than LAU potentially squandering a billion dollars is what this failure will do to the perception of 1:1 programs everywhere else. Their lack of planing and poor deployment endangers the future funding of all 1:1 programs. The public now thinks, erroneously, that iPads can be casually “hacked.” That they won’t get used. That teachers hate them.

And all of this could have been avoided- easily- if they had done two things:

  1. Had a plan.
  2. Hired some people to advise them about that plan. People that, you know, might have done something like this before.

Rant over.