BECKLEY, W.Va. – Raleigh County students are going high-tech this year, becoming the first public school system in West Virginia to rely on iPads instead of text books. The program is called iRaleigh.

Mary Ann Foster, technology coordinator for Raleigh County Schools, said students in K-1 share iPads in the classroom, while second-grade students each have individual devices. Students in grades 3-12 each have an iPad they utilize in class and can take home.

“Parents have the option to opt out if they don’t want their students taking the iPad home,” Foster said, though the students must use them in class.

The school system decided to debut the iRaleigh program by uploading social studies curriculum onto the devices. All their reading and classwork, in that subject, will be on the iPad. They’ll still use text books for subjects like math, English and science.

Most students are very familiar with iPads, but parents not so much. That’s why the school system held an orientation for parents last month to see what students would be doing and how they can help them at home.

One frequent question from parents was involved iPads that are damaged or lost.

“Parents just don’t have the money to pay for equipment,” said Foster, noting the schools have a contract with Apple to repair or replace broken tablets. at no cost to students or parents. The only exception, Foster said, would be if a student intentionally destroys an iPad, at which point he will face disciplinary action.

Besides the learning component of the iRaleigh program, Foster said students are learning another lesson.

“We have to teach our students responsibility with everything. This will certainly be one of those things that we make sure they understand,” said Foster.

The school system is paying for the iPads and plans to phase out text books within the next five years.

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  • Pink frost donut

    I like iPads I can eat off them like cupcake games it's nice. People should start using iPads for everything

  • bobby martins

    nice information

  • butter

    sometimes i like to get my body full of sauce and jump in spajattie and act like a noodle

    • even

      your weird

  • butter


  • butter


  • tori

    i love the ipad its verry fun and i think they should replace all classroom's by 2015

    • Nirin

      You are right

  • Kevin

    Bishop Donahue has been using them now for two years and TD program has been a huge success. Now I don't know about k-12 but 9-12 has worked great and my son and his friends love the program. No more excuses my dog ate my homework. LOL

    • CaptainQ

      Now it can be, "The dog ate my IPad?"

      Hate to be the vet who'd have to find a way to get one of those out of a dog's stomach.....

      • emmwer


  • a concerned educator

    The WV Dept. of Ed. is always complaining that students are addicted to technology. And what do they do????? Give more of the "drug" they are complaining about.

    • Tim

      Concerned Educator??
      You mean misinformed!
      Please hyperlink...cut and paste or type in your evidence to show me one time the WVDE mentions on their website where they complain about students using technology??
      Please? I beg you to show me??

      Ever heard of 21st century learning skills?
      Are you really an educator?
      If so I bet you are a paper pusher!!
      Just sayin..

      • a concerned educator


        I have sat through meetings with the WVDE where they have made the statement that students need to stop using technology at home and get outside and play more. In addition, I have read news articles where they make the same statement.

        I am not against technology. As a matter of fact, I use it quite frequently in my classes. However, too many times in the field of education we make knee jerk reactions to the "latest fad" that comes about without really supporting the change with valid research. For example, can you remember the "Open Classroom Concept" where schools did not have interior walls? WV started building schools that way while at the same time California was putting up walls because they found that this type of building structure just did not work. I taught in one of those classrooms, so I know what the distractions were like with no walls separating classrooms.

        I am quite familiar with 21st century learning skills, as well as the New Generation Content Standards. However, I also know that education does not have to "fancy" to be effective. I can see a myriad of problems with the IPADS, including breakage, loss, technology issues, and batteries that are not charged. Who is going to take care of all of these issues, right away, so that the students can still learn? The schools are unable to keep up with the technology they already have. I know because my school cannot do it, and my wife's school can't either. I also hear this from many other educators throughout the state.

        We'll see in a few years what effect the use of IPADS have on student learning. If I am wrong, I will admit it. However, I bet that the "fad of the PAD" will go the way of many other educational trends.

        • Herd 1

          Use of technology also provides job security for numerous WVDE Ineptocrats as well.

          Excellent reply, concerned educator. Our shared experiences speaks volumes as I, too, heard that same song-and-dance from the WVDE for years. Your response reflects knowledge, commitment, and classroom experience that extends far and above any of those who criticize your posts. You consistently take the high road and present constructive counterpoints and refrain from attacking commentators, indeed a rarity for this website.

          Concerned educator: may you have a safe, acceptable year--from a retiree to one still fighting the good fight, and doing it well.

  • CaptainQ

    I'm not 100% sold on this idea. Call me old fashioned, but I think our children should be learning to read from regular, ordinary books FIRST and THEN, in time, progress to using other high-tech methods of reading. If we teach our next generation to be so totally dependent on technology, what will happen in 'real world' situations when they can't 'Kindle' or 'Net Surf' their way to solutions or training?

    Besides, don't those iPads require Wi-FI to function properly? I KNOW all of Raleigh County is NOT Wi-Fi accessable. Few counties in this state are 100% Wi-Fi accessable. Books are better, they can't 'short out' or ever 'run out of battery power.'

    • scott

      you can buy one ipad that stores thousands of books for the same price as 2 or 3 text books. easy decision

    • Tim

      You make some valid points. But the IPADS actually are pre loaded with programs that do not require children to have WIFI or the programs can be updated or uploaded using the schools WIFI then students can use anywhere.

      I do believe a set of classroom books are important to have but most textbooks now come with online capability and availability.
      I Like seeing kids carrying a book bag with an IPAD and their lunches instead of all those heavy textbooks!!