In WAY Over Their Heads!

The LA School District just learned a good lesson in technology (possibly), one that any technologist not part of the moribund public school district could have predicted.

The LAUSD has a plan to put an iPad into each of their 675,000 student hands — a laudable effort that will cost $1 billion. Lots of taxpayer money.

In their first effort they decided to spend $30 million to test the effort, and made a minimal effort to deny students the ability to access social media and games.

The kids broke through the minimal barriers in about a millisecond, and when the school discovered the breakthrough, they demanded the return of all of the iPads until the school system could regroup.

(The so-called “firewall” was that a profile was made in Settings, and students just changed the Setting!)

Naturally, about 80 of the iPads at $675, disappeared! So the second problem appeared. The LAUSD had no policy as to whom to hold responsible should an iPad be lost or stolen.

If you are getting the feeling of Casey Stengel when he asked of the 1964 Mets, “Can’t anybody here play this game?”

The answer is, for the LAUSD, “No!” Let me ask a question: If you were a brilliant technologist, would you be working for a school district?

Casey Stengel also said of his First-year@ Mets, “Lyndon Johnson wanted to see poverty, so he came to see my team.”

I understand. When I was a Computer Science prof. I had to be retrained every day!  Some of my graduate students were working for HP in their Research and Development Department, and they were working on products that were two to five years out! I was dancing as fast as I could.When I got over my head in a subject — which I did several times, but in one case one of my grad students listened to my presentation on a new software language, and at the break told me that her brother actually invented that software, and was visiting her enroute to Singapore to make a presentation. Would I like him to come over right then and tell the students? YOU BET!

But public school personnel can’t stay ahead of high-school freshmen.

That’s just the way it is.


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