Apple Customers Donate Thousands of iPads to Teachers

As part of Apple’s iPad2 launch, customers have donated over 10,000 iPads to needy schools when they upgrade to the newer model.

Do you have a first generation Apple iPad lying around gathering dust? Are you at a loss of what to do with it? Need an excuse to upgrade to a newer model? Apple has suggested that customers who are upgrading to the new version of the device donate their old one and see it used to improve education in some of the worst schools in the country.

ZDNet reports that the donated iPads are given to the Teach for America graduates who teach for two years in the country’s under-performing districts. So far, Apple has collected over 10,000 iPads to offer to teachers, which, according to Fortune.com, means that every one of TFA’s 9,000 current graduates will receive one. However, the ultimate goal is to supply one to every student too.

While the aim was to enable every student in the scheme, which runs in over thirty states, the Apple branded tablet is still a sizeable help to teachers — and students alike — in the classroom.

Though so many high-profile and wealthy schools can afford to give an iPad to every student, the scheme falls short. But to enable as many classrooms as possible, even if it is just one device per room, to make the interactive experience of teaching and learning better, it is certainly a push in the right direction.

The donation scheme was initiated as part of the iPad2 release last spring and is part of a bigger social program running at Apple. However, the company’s relationship with Teach for America is special: the wife of the former Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell, sits on TFA’s board.

This round of the collection has concluded at the end of August, and the new recipients of the popular tablet picked them up over the past two weekends.

Katie Remington (Middlebury ’10) picked up hers — a refurbished model that looked like new — on Sunday and brought it to the inner-city high school in St. Louis where she runs the science department. “So far,” she wrote after the first day, “I’ve figured out it can make them finish their work fast for ‘iPad time.’”

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