The Ontario government has announced it has teamed up with Apple and Rogers to help low-income families learn at home.
According to the province, LTE-enabled iPads will be purchased by Ontario school boards, ready to be used with free wireless data from Rogers, available until June 30, 2020. These iPads will not require Rogers to help set them up.
Apple will provide students with videos, apps and books to assist teachers in building home lesson plans, along with other fun and creative activities kids can do at home with an iPad. Apple says it will also be providing teachers one-on-one coaching through Apple Professional Learning Specialists.
The government says this week participating school boards in Ontario started to “put iPads into the hands of their most vulnerable students.”
Ontario says they are also connecting seven homeless shelters in Toronto with free Wi-Fi access to help vulnerable students learn from home.
“This important partnership will enable students to learn while making technology accessible for those that truly need it,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, in a statement. “Our government is committed to ensuring equitable access to education, so that every child – irrespective of ability, geography or socio-economic circumstance – can continue their learning while schools are closed.”
The provincial government says, “to date, over 21,000 [iPads] will be sent to the homes of families in need.”
Rogers is also working with Ontario school boards to provide high-speed internet access at $9.99/month through their Connected for Success program, which supports low-income families.
There were no specifics on which model of iPad, but most likely they are the 9.7-inch version with LTE networking. If these iPads are the latest cellular models, they retail for $599 CAD each for a 32GB version. If you multiply 21,000 iPads by $599, you get a $12,579,000 retail cost of these tablets.
I understand the iPads they are procuring have a cost of sub-$399. Agreed that a Google Chromebook is a Google product and ready to roll faster with Google Classroom.
— Trustee Norm Di Pasquale TCDSB Ward 9 (@normsworld) April 17, 2020
Students and teachers everywhere are doing incredible things. We are glad to work alongside Ontario’s Ministry of Education and school boards to help students access the technology they need to stay connected and #LearnAtHome https://t.co/RVq47Kiq4s
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 17, 2020
Most likely a volume education discount is available, so the government cost is probably lower.