Canadians who became parents in the Northwest Territories after April 1, 2014, are eligible for an iPad mini provided by the Department of Education. The iPads are for educational purposes, they say, but the program — trialled by you, if you are among the 100 parents who will get iPads by the end of May — faced criticism and questions arose about whether the department is using this program to unload funds as the end of the financial year approaches.
You may recall that earlier last month Daryl Dolynny, the MLA for Range Lake, raised questions asking why someone would spend $750,000 on technology when the same entity (the government) was unwilling to invest a similar amount in junior kindergarten a few years back.
In a freshly published article in the My YellowKnife Now, education minister Jackson Lafferty is there to defend the program that seeks 100 parents for some proof of viability. The education program will stretch over a three-year period if the trial goes well. The next big phase of the program will be its rollout this August: 1,500 iPads will be handed out to parents over the next 36 months.
“There’s information on immunization, baby-and-mom exercises, baby songs, different language apps, as well as a recipe book,” explains Lafferty. “This will benefit new parents who can’t afford to have a tablet full of applications.
“It’s based on feedback that parents and grandparents need more information when it comes to raising kids, so they can be more productive and ready for school. We feel this provides an opportunity to access all kinds of information.”
The fact is, every new parent is in a constant need of information on how to raise kids, and the iPads come in handy because they can be preloaded with apps (which the government buys for these parents, with some costing up to $5). The catch is, parenting doesn’t exactly start when the baby is born but when it is conceived. What seems a bit odd is that the program is trialled only for a couple of months — from May to July — before the bigger rollout scheduled for August. That’s a short time frame to measure the viability of a million-dollar project funded by the money of taxpayers.
Here are the apps parents will get with the iPad minis:
– FirstYear Pro and BabyConnect
– Together with Baby
– Nanny app
– Recalls and Safety Alerts
– In Dad’s Care
– Mustela Baby Coach
– Baby’s Here – Help!
– My Recipe Book
– Super Mom Workout
– Period Tracker HD
– Mom & Baby Exercise
– Baby Songs
– Language-specific introductions – eight applications tailored to official languages of the NWT, offering language learning, games and quizzes in many everyday categories such as greetings, activities, food, clothing, expressions, family, plants and animals.
– And 13 bookmarked websites focusing on topics like health and literacy.