To paraphrase The Bard (badly), there is something rotten in the town of Willingboro.
During the past two days, several South Jersey publications have disclosed a rather disturbing story out of that small Burlington County town of about 33,000. Over the past year, administrators of the local school district have reported (at least) 171 iPads missing – or to be more specific – stolen.
The information was actually revealed late last month due to an Open Public Records Act request taken on the part of the Burlington County Times.
One report claims that the iPads were stolen in bulk in 2013 from the District’s warehouse. I’m not exactly familiar with its facilities, but this already stinks of some kind of inside job. The idea of some dingbat thief breaking into a warehouse usually reserved for pens, pencils and dry erase boards to hit this kind of jackpot – and get away clean – isn’t exactly believable. And what’s really irritating is that school and police investigators can’t seem to find who’s responsible.
This kind of situation can best be summed up in a two-word term in constant use by my tween son’s generation: Epic Fail.
The educational value of a networked iPad in the hands of a child cannot be underestimated. It’s a book, a note-taking device, an interface that illuminates in spectacular fashion the great works of art and architecture. It’s a global atlas containing every mountain range, country and territory down to the street level. It’s a teleconferencing device enabling a student to talk to peers from the largest urban center in Asia to the smallest African village. It’s a documentary machine, a recording studio, a radio, and on and on and on. And 171 of these magnificent learning tools were whisked away from the Willingboro’s school district warehouse, and nobody knows nothing.