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How do we include technology in the public school classrooms without it becoming a consumer issue or becoming consumers of marketing?

I attended a conference sponsored by my public school employer last year that was presented as "getting excited about technology" in the classroom. While I see the benefits of using technology in classrooms and of utilizing devices in classrooms, what I observed was a marketing strategy by a young enthusiastic promoter of Apple products. Some of the applications were neat and even useful. However, I left the conference feeling like I attended a promotion for Apple products. I later researched the presenter and sure enough, he was a sales person for Apple, even though he never spoke about his affiliation with Apple. The organization he was promoting was the "ischool initiative." Travis Allen is the name of the presenter. I'd love to hear about any input as far as the blurred lines between promoting the benefits of technology in our schools and the selling of products in our public schools. Some districts have contracts with the ischool initiative where students and families are required to rent or lease ipads which can be very expensive and profitable to Apple.

  • Oct 4 2013: What you are doing is exactly correct. Take everything said by a salesperson with a grain of salt and you have to check out whether the functionality is worth the price. Do not be afraid to ask questions, a lot of questions and have a plan to check it out. I had one salesperson who would answer every question with yes and when pushed to show it, the nswer was in the next release.

    If you are not technical, it is a good chance to learn and ask for help. I know many very good high tech people that are always helping public the area I am in.
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    Lejan .

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    Oct 4 2013: Thank you Paula for bringing your important questions into debate!

    Apple has come a long, long way from being an exotic underdog to its present market dominance, which came at the cost of many of their former ideas, ideals and philosophies.

    Its big business now, and you happened to become part of one of their marketing strategies. What you described sounds like 'early customer retention' and isn't surprising at all.

    The good news is, that there are many alternatives to apple products which range at lower prices by having the same if not even better hardware performance. On the software side it is to be expected, that all major operating systems will offer a wide variety of choices, because the 'school market' is to big not to compete for it.

    If I had to choose, I would certainly go for a Linux distribution on the software side, as its ideology, its spirit, comes closest to what public education is about. The enrichment of society by education. Linux comes free of charge, has no interest in any profit margins and is supported by a worldwide community of enthusiasts, who love what they do and this without getting payed for it.

    Ubuntu, (literally, 'human-ness') is a Linux distribution which just recently released its tablet version, which seems promising so far:

    Promo Video

    Ubuntu Website

    Wikipedia about Ubuntu

    As the tablet version is still new, there might be only just a few applications available for your purpose at the moment, but as the community is also strong in providing useful software, this seems not to be much of a problem in a short time from now.

    Ubuntu is highly versatile and you can simply and also just temporarily use it on almost any computer, pc or mac, by just booting it from an USB-stick. This way would allow students to use Ubuntu also on their family computers without having it permanently installed. Well worth to look at it.
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    Oct 5 2013: Have you seen this related conversation: