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iPads to Replace Textbooks in Schools

Teachers may be going from yelling out, "open your books" to saying "press the power button."

The Florida Board of Education has a five-year plan to transition from textbooks to digital learning materials for students statewide.

Ben Threadgill, Godby High School's Assistant Principal of Curriculum, Ben Threadgill says, "The kids nowadays are used to this. This is what they grew up with and this is what they know. So, having that in place would be outstanding for those students."

Threadgill says, Godby is lucky to have more technology than the other schools in Tallahassee dream of.

Godby has eleven computer labs with a total of about 350 desktop computers and 150 laptops. The 200 iPads rotate between classrooms.

Right now, it works out to one device for every two students. Threadgill says the state's plan of a one-to-one ratio would be ideal.

Jaylain Jones is a 10th grade student at Godby. He says, "When I first used it, it was a little hard because I don't have an iPhone or any iPad at all. But, once you learn to use it, it was pretty good; and it's fun."

D.O.E. says the digital transition would cost $441 million. It's a part of its $15.2 billion budget request to the Legislature.

School administrators say electronic tablets could be cheaper when you average $100 for a textbook per student for each six periods.

Students like the idea of lighter bookbags. Godby High School 10th Grader Christopher Owens says, "I carry around two textbooks, four binders, three notebooks, and other stuff. It'd be awesome if everybody had their own personal iPad."

D.O.E. would not require districts to use a certain brand or device. The board approved the the request Tuesday during its meeting in Orlando.


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