updated 01:55 am EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
Donated original iPads making a difference
When Apple introduced the iPad 2, it also introduced a program for people who planned to upgrade to donate their original iPad to an organization called Teach For America, which would in turn give the iPads to some of the U.S.'s most impoverished schools. This month, the first fruits of the program were realized as Apple began delivering iPads to every Teach For America corps member -- more than 9,000 in 38 states.
Teach For America's main mission is to persuade recent education graduates to spend a two-year period (after five weeks of training) in some of the country's most in-need school districts, alleviating the underfunding of public education in many parts of the U.S. Members of Teach for America were offered via an e-mail from Apple asking members to explain how the iPad could benefit their students and classes. Registration for the program ended August 31st and notification to members were mailed out shortly afterwards.
While the fact that Apple Chairman Steve Jobs' wife, Laurene Powell, sits on the board of directors of Teach For America -- and that so far only one iPad per classroom has been donated by the company -- has drawn some mild criticism, even one iPad in a classroom can have a dramatic impact, and tops having no iPads or other such technology available, as many poorer districts must contend with. Apple has been notoriously selective in getting involved with charitable projects and has developed a reputation for not giving on a scale commensurate with the company's enormous revenues and profits, although it has been known to match charitable gifts by employees or contribute to some projects and organizations on a very low-key level.
As for the iPads, at least one Teach For America member found the donation useful. Katie Reminton, who teaches in an inner-city high school in St. Louis, posted about her first day with the device in her classroom. "So far," she wrote, "I've figured out that it can make [the students] finish their work fast for 'iPad time.'"