More High Schools Hand Out iPads, Cut Textbooks

More districts trim textbooks to save money, appeal to students
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2011 4:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – More US high school students will be encouraged not to hit the books this year—because a gleaming new iPad awaits them in the classroom. More than 600 school districts will give out iPads for each student in at least one class, Apple says, and one high school in Kentucky is going all-out, giving an iPad to every student. So much for textbooks? Not quite, but they are making less financial and educational sense for today's secondary schools, the AP reports.

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Textbooks are "pretty much outdated the minute they're printed and certainly by the time they're delivered," says one principal. Among other benefits: iPads can be less expensive than a year's supply of textbooks; kids are already used to flicking through electronic pages; easy note-taking, educational videos, and click-of-a-button homework submission. (And yes, many school iPads will have filters to keep students off certain websites.) As for textbook publishers—which rack up $5.5 billion in annual sales to high schools—they're already producing downloadable iPad versions and trying to figure out which school subjects are likely to go all-digital in the future. (Read more iPad stories.)

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