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‘Technological benefit?’

To The Editor:

I was very surprised to hear that Harwood Union's middle-schoolers will be assigned iPads at the beginning of this school year. Although the school received a grant this summer, so that our taxpayers are not affected financially, is this still a good idea for the students? It is interesting to note that only Harwood middle-schoolers and not Crossett Brook middle-schoolers will be receiving iPads, because it appears that Crossett Brook did not apply for the same grant.

How will this affect the different students when they all attend the ninth grade together at Harwood? Are Harwood's past problems with students and technology going to increase by giving them this opportunity? These past issues have included egregious use of the internet, specifically in social networking involving cyberbullying, as well as unfettered access to pornography and other nonproductive sites.

Is the risk of this worth it for the technological benefit toward the students? How is the school planning to monitor and control these potential problems? However, aside from these issues, when I think back to my days of attending Harwood Union Middle School it would have definitely been an advantage having that as a resource during class. If these iPads can be controlled and monitored to the utmost extent, so that the typical wandering eyes of a preteen don't find some way to get distracted on an app they aren't supposed to be looking at, then I am all for the idea. Having the ability to research and visualize a classroom topic at hand is a wonderful benefit that many of us adults wish we could have had back when we were in seventh and eighth grade. As a last question, I ask to the parents of our middle-schoolers, what can you do to help Harwood with this upcoming opportunity?

Zak Harmon
Waitsfield

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