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Educators working on the side for Apple: report

Published: 07 Jan 2013 17:03 GMT+01:00

The project, called Tänk om ('Rethink' or 'Imagine' in Swedish), has direct ties to Apple's marketing efforts in Sweden and often employs teachers and education officials as consultants.

According to an email reviewed by Sveriges Radio (SR), Apple representatives say the company has invested "substantial sums" in the project, calling it a Swedish version of the Apple Professional Development Programme for K12 Education.

A review by SR found that public servants in several Swedish municipalities receive additional income from Tänk Om - and the list of people with potentially conflicting interests includes teachers, principals and IT coordinators.

"You should be buying the best education materials, not the ones tied to your income," public administration profssor Olle Lundin at Uppsala University told SR.

"This clearly risks denting the public's trust in the system."

To make matters worse, it appears that several educators feel pressure to stay silent on the matter despite niggling doubts.

A principal, who wanted to remain anonymous, told SR that both Apple and Tänk Om had been in contact after they questioned whether it was appropriate for educators "to sit on two chairs," the Swedish expression for a person who has potentially conflicting interests.

Apple refused to comment on the dilemma when contacted by SR, stating it had no official spokespersons.

Experts told SR that Apple currently commands around 40 percent of the market for school computers in Swedish, which is estimated to be around 1 billion kronor ($153 million) annually.

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Your comments about this article

18:54 January 7, 2013 by skatty
You mean kids learn nothing without Apple; it should be Apple or nothing!

Is it a monopoly by Apple?
20:05 January 7, 2013 by eurobloke
Step away from the Kool-Aid, små barnet. Its for own good.
20:31 January 7, 2013 by Svensksmith
Maybe if the salary wasn't so pitiful, it wouldn't be necessary for the teachers to moonlight.
21:09 January 7, 2013 by Rishonim
@Svenksmith, I agree with you. The salary for teachers in Sweden is indeed pitiful. A dear friend with a degree in education from Columbia University (master in education) and her starting salary was 22K Kr per month before taxes. She is waiting table in a local stureplan restaurant pulling in twice that amount. I don't understand why any government wouldnt want to invest in teachers. After all their only objectives is to educate the future leaders of a nation: (doctors, mathematicians, politicians, engineers etc).

The same things goes for police.. How do they expect to keep an honest police force that is responsible for our safety paying them such misery?
08:48 January 8, 2013 by glawson3073
This means teachers are no longer teaching children except just letting them learn off an Ipad or laptop, this will certainly make life easier for the teachers as they are no longer teaching basic things like spelling or reading.

Such a shame it has come to where you now shove a Ipad onto a kid to learn, just like placing a TV infront of a child instead of proper interaction where they can ask questions and be corrected in a proper manner.
09:06 January 8, 2013 by Keith #5083
Well that explains why many schools suddenly had an outbreak of over-expensive pupil purchases.

The argument between Windows PC and Apple will always continue,the argument about school budgets,however, should have never been allowed to start.The statement "This clearly risks denting the public's trust in the system." is somewhat absurd. Anyone who knows anything about data knows the system has been well and truly train wrecked!

Purchasers of school equipment should have no personal financial interest in the placement of the order and it is parents who should choose whether their child below 13 years of age has a WinPC or Apple.
10:10 January 8, 2013 by EtoileBrilliant
They question is less Windows versus Apple but more whether a company who has a self-declared "walled garden" approach should have a major role in our education system.

Notwithstanding the prevalence of Apple products in our house, I feel uneasy about the fact that an App (education or otherwise) will only appear on an Ipad once it has been approved by Apple.

Who's to say that in a few years, some over zealous creationist at Apple, stops the distributions of an educational app that advocates evolutionary theory. At the very least, let users decide what educational App they can download. Google Android gives its users the freedom to download Apps from "non-Market sources".

I'm not trying to start a flame war, merely trying open a discussion as to whether a company the preaches complete control over what may be used on its devices should have a major role in our children's education. Let Apple participate by all means, by remove their right of veto.
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