Tim Penning, a professor at Grand Valley State University and a Tribune community columnist, offered extra commentary on his blog about Spring Lake schools investing in iPads for its elementary students.
"Is this a wise investment of taxpayer dollars? Will these devices enhance learning?" Penning wrote in his June 12 blog, "iPads at Spring Lake elementary schools."
"For one thing, this sounds fantastic and absolutely a vital thing to do. Technology is in almost every aspect of life and the workplace now, so I can only imagine what these kids will encounter when they are 18 or 22 and looking for their first career job. Having become proficient with tablets will not only give them an advantage, it will likely be a basic necessity.
"I also worry a bit," he admitted. "Like all new technology, there are pros and cons to the use of iPads in class. So, every advantage I mentioned above comes with a downside. Specifically, how do we make sure kids are using technology to advance their understanding of math or improve their vocabulary and basic grammar as opposed to playing 'Angry Birds' or other games? But then again, with old-fashioned paper, there was doodling and paper airplanes. Kids need to be inspired to pay attention no matter what materials we use."
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