POSTED: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 12:41pm
UPDATED: Friday, September 2, 2011 - 5:22pm
NBC National News — One Wisconsin school district is hoping iPads will help cut costs and keep students engaged.
Bangor Middle School teacher Rick Muellenberg says his students have never been excited about getting their textbooks on the first day of school, but today they couldn't wait to start studying with their new iPads.
"Everything will be very timely versus a textbook," Muellenberg said. "Once it's published, there are no changes to it and so the updates we get are free updates, so the information stays relevant and pertinent to that moment without having to pay again for it.'
Bangor Middle and High School Principal Don Addington says the school district ordered about 140 iPads--one for each middle schooler--at about $450 a piece.
The district paid for the iPads with surplus school funds and a one-time refund from the school's utility use.
"In the long-run it's going to be a cost-savings for the district because textbooks are sometimes $80 or more a copy and if we go with virtual textbooks on the iPad, that's going to be at a fraction of the cost," Addington said.
If the iPad breaks or gets stolen, Addington says it's covered under the school district's insurance policy.
The students will be able to bring them home to use.
"Our backpacks won't be nearly as heavy as they were and it's going to be really nice," said 6th grader Elizabeth Nicolai.
Muellenberg says he's just as excited as the students to work with new technology.
"We want this to be a great learning tool for you," Muellenberg told the students. "And in this multimedia class, we'll be using these every single day."
Principal Addington says right now English is the only class that has dropped the traditional textbook and put the updated electronic version on the iPad.
He says in the future, they may drop more books and add more apps to the iPad.