Students to get iPads

Published 9:48 am Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Isle of Wight County School Board on Thursday unanimously agreed to spend $446,000 annually for three years so every teacher and student in Smithfield and Windsor high schools can have iPads.

The 2,000 tablet computers will replace textbooks. At the end of the three years, the school could purchase the iPads, or send them back for new versions.

“The kids we’re teaching in school now are Internet natives,” said Windsor District Board Member Julia Perkins. “That is their primary vehicle. If that’s what they’re used to and comfortable with, I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

The e-books that are downloaded to the iPads cost $14, compared to a traditional book that averages around $65, said Chairman Robert Eley.

“We know we’re saving money on textbooks,” he said. “Overall though I don’t think it’s a big savings.”

Eley said many of the system’s textbooks were between three and six years old and need to be replaced. He added that e-books could be updated instead of replaced each year.

Eley said the decision was not about saving money, but more about the educational value of the equipment.

“Children in the classroom can do research right there,” he said.

Students will be issued iPads at the beginning of the school year and can take them home, Eley said.

He said the tablets are insured, but policies would have to be put in place to guard against students breaking them.

“We’ll need to make sure students and parents are on board,” Eley said.