iPads to Pay for Themselves

In an article I read recently it said a private Tennessee school will require all students grades 4 through 12 to use iPads next year. They believe the program will pay for itself within three years. The school is a private school and will give students and their families an option for how they would like to participate in the program.

One of the primary motivators for the school to use iPads is to transition to digital textbooks. They believe digital textbooks are easier to use, lighter to carry, and cheaper for families. The other interest in getting digital text books that they are more interactive and can be updated to contain more current information. The school believes digital textbooks are more engaging than paper.

The school is still working out issues such as the initial cost for the 1,000 iPads it plans to purchase as well as getting teachers to plan the transition away from paper textbooks.

“There are a handful of teachers who are still struggling with the idea of electronic books. It’s certainly a personal preference,” the school’s technology director said. “Even people who prefer a (conventional) book see the advantages of an electronic version.”

Students will have the option of buying their own iPad or leasing the iPad from the school on a three year lease (at which time they will own it). From the school’s perspective the cost of an iPad can be compared to the cost of several text books. An example text book for advanced psychology sells for $130 and weighs 10 pounds. The online version is updated regularly and costs $50.

“We fully expect, not immediately, but over time, the savings they have will make it a wash at least as far as cost,” the school said.

One of the advantages of going to a device like the iPad is there is almost no learning curve for students. Today’s students are “digital natives,” and teachers can learn from them, their 62-year-old superintendent noted.

“I think the future will be where the actual wall is a computer,” he said.

Many school districts will continue to play the conservative wait and see card. But for this one school they are committed to moving ahead with the iPad and getting students using them as soon as possible.


3 thoughts on “iPads to Pay for Themselves

  1. its really a great step to enter a digital life. So far I have seen iPads used for various purposes and needs but this is something extremely innovative. Students can now carry all their text books in digital formats on their iPads.

  2. Introduce the scientific method to preschoolers with our iPad app and lesson plan. Preschoolers instinctively observe and ask questions. They also think outside the box because they are unaware of what’s normal or obvious. Have you given a preschooler a toy and watched them use it in numerous ways it was never meant to be used? They are naturally creative and innovative. This is why we think this is the perfect time to introduce preschoolers to the scientific method. It encourages creativity and critical thinking.


  3. This is a fantastic idea – getting students thinking technologically and cutting down on wasteful printing. For kinesthetic learners, this is great step forward. But what will happen when the hardware that students are leasing becomes incapable of supporting the latest software in 3-4 years’ time? Require them to upgrade to a new one? I hope the electronic waste recyclers out there are also paying attention to this trend.

    Thanks for your insightful blog!

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