At PadGadget we often cover news of universities and even secondary and elementary schools are integrating iPads into their curricula. Just yesterday we ran a story touting the tablet’s positive effects in the classroom. That’s great for the lucky few who enroll at prestigious institutions such as Yale or Stanford, but what about students at less well-heeled institutions?
Apple recently started a philanthropic program that takes a step toward closing the ever widening techno-literacy gap. First, Apple asked customers to donate their first generation iPads. Those devices were refurbished and distributed to the Teach for America program for use in each corps member’s class room.
Not surprisingly, the program was extremely popular with Teach for America candidates. Apple reports distributing more than 9,000 iPads to Teach for America corps members who serve in 38 states.
While this plan isn’t quite on par with a district, such as the one in Zeeland, MI, which recently purchased iPads for every high school student in the district, it is a start. Thanks to Apple, and the generosity of the customers who donated, students who get a Teach for America corps member as a teacher will also likely find their classroom equipped with an iPad.
Teach for America operates like a domestic, educational version of the Peace Corps. Recent graduates compete for slots teaching in underserved school districts in urban and rural areas. It is, undoubtedly, a very worthy recipient of Apple’s generosity, but nota bene, ex-CEO Steve Jobs’ wife, Laurene Powell, is also a member of of Teach for America’s Board of Directors.
It should also be noted that Apple’s choice of Teach for America doesn’t quite constitute a break from giving the technology to privileged individuals, since Teach for America draws on a pool of applicants culled from the nation’s top flight colleges (think Yale, Stanford). However, the program is a novel way to extend the life of older iPads, and will undoubtedly benefit students and teachers alike.