BECKLEY, W.Va. — The school year is wrapping up in Raleigh County where students spent the first year replacing textbooks with iPads. Raleigh County is the first county to extensively start offering textbooks in the digital format.

Superintendent Jim Brown said because they were the first, they had to learn as the progressed through the year.

“It’s a work in progress and it’s a significant change in the way teachers teach and students learn,” he said. “It’s a process that’s going to take a period of time.”

Nationally experts told the school system it would take three to five years for everybody involved to become comfortable with the new format. Therefore, Brown said they would press forward because the new digital textbooks are the future.

“It’s new to us in West Virginia, but it’s definitely a direction we’re going to see across the state of West Virginia,” he said. “It’s here to stay.”

Under the current system parents had the option to sign a form which disallowed students from bringing their iPads home at night. However, Brown said as they move ahead the time will come when those are necessary after hours and students will be unable to complete homework assignments without the iPad.

“We found there’s greater level of ownership and personalization if students are able to have the device throughout the day,” he said. “We’re able to track the utilization and we see they are often tracked outside the school and used for personalized learning.”

Eventually the county will continue to adopt digital format exclusively for all textbooks. The program started with Social Studies in the first year.

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Comments

  • Ole Sasquatch

    I suspect this will work. However, I would not look for big differences in the first year. Subsequent years should see a big payoff. If this leads to a more efficient school system we also should expect to see less expense in the school budgets.

  • mac

    Here are 17 ways iPads are changing the face of education in the U.S. Maybe for once, WV will take the lead in educating our children.

    1. PUTTING STUDENTS IN CHARGE OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
    In Arab, Ala., the board of education approved the purchase of 120 iPads, putting one in the hand of every teacher in the district. Teachers are hopeful that having access to the technology will help them give students more control in the classroom, and the school's Superintendent feels that experience with new technologies will be vital to the students’ futures. A proposal currently on the table would give every student from grades six through 12 access to an iPad. Additionally, six iPads will go to every K-3 classroom and every fourth and fifth grade class will have a dozen.

    2. REPLACING TEXTBOOKS AND TRANSCRIBING LECTURES
    This fall, every student at Justin-Siena High School in California will receive an iPad with a charger, earbuds, manual and cover. Though students will be responsible for purchasing apps, some required for specific courses will come with a discount. A long-term goal for the program is to do away with paper textbooks, which is sure to relieve students carrying heavy backpacks. The students, however, say they are most excited about the “Notability” app, which is capable of recording a lecture and transcribing it into text.

    3. FILLING TEACHER SHORTAGES IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
    Administrators in Sweden’s Vindeln municipality are considering adopting iPads as a way to ensure children in several small, rural communities with teacher shortages have quality teachers. The smallest school in the area has only seven students, and, if put into practice, the idea could become a model for other rural communities.

    4. PROVIDING HOME INTERNET ACCESS
    At Taylor Elementary School in Tennessee, fourth- and fifth-grade students will have the opportunity to take school-issued iPads home on nights and weekends. Participation in the “iPad on the Go” program is optional, though, as parents must assume the cost of replacing broken or lost devices.

    5. IMPROVING MATH SKILLS
    All 900 students at Charlotte High School received iPads five months ago, and teachers say their improvement is already evident. According to Sisco, “Math Foundations,” the technology has greatly improved the basic math skills some students were struggling with and need for courses like Algebra I.

    6. ESTABLISHING MODELS FOR LARGE iPAD DEPLOYMENTS
    A $4.5 billion Turkish initiative to put 15 million tablets into the hands of the country’s schoolchildren—about one tablet for every student—could potentially become a model for massive iPad deployments in both education and business if Apple is selected.

    7. IMMERSING CHILDREN IN BETTER TECHNOLOGY
    Howard Junior School in the United Kingdom purchased 30 iPad minis, with another 18 on the way, in the interest of giving children the latest technology. The school’s library also has full-sized iPads and 40 Nintendo DS machines, which students can borrow and use with educational software. Headteacher Gregory Hill credits the school’s embrace of technology with improvements in its SATS results.

    8. ATTRACTING GRANT MONEY
    The Washington Parish School Board gave teachers an opportunity to apply for iPad integration mini-grants, which were presented to six recipients at a meeting Thursday night. With the push for improved results nationwide, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see more districts implementing similar grants in the coming year.

    9. EXPANDING ON EXISTING PILOT PROGRAMS
    New Jersey’s Ramsey School District is continuing the iPad pilot program it launched with Smith Middle School’s Class of 2013 by expanding the initiative to follow fall’s incoming freshmen to Ramsey High School. Between now and then, ninth-grade teachers will be trained on the iPads—which cost the district $53,000, plus insurance coverage—and a long-term integration plan at all grade levels is also in the works.

    10. HELPING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
    Along with grants, there are likely to be more iPad programs funded by donations. A recent $7,580 donation to Council Rock High School South in Pennsylvania will be used to purchase 20 iPads for students with disabilities, and is the second donation the district has received this year for the purchase of iPads. The first, in January, was an anonymous donation of $5,038 to purchase iPads for Autistic Support Classes.

    11. BY STUDENTS WHO BRING THEIR OWN iPADS TO CLASS
    Gonzaga Prep, a private Jesuit high school in Spokane, Wash., announced Thursday that the school’s 870 students would be using an iPad in place of books. Unlike many programs, each student/family will have to purchase their own iPad—specifically, a 16 GB iPad 2. Could this sort of iPad program catch on at more private schools, if not public ones?

    12. IMPROVING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT RESULTS
    When schools in Clark County, Ky., received $22,000 awards to use as they saw fit, Winchester’s Central Elementary used the funds to purchase 32 iPad minis. Teachers at the school report increased engagement among students, who use Edmodo to collaborate on math problems with older students in Conkwright Middle School’s Student Leadership Technology Program.

    13. CLOSING THE DIGITAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP
    An iPad pilot program including three schools in Colorado’s Boulder Valley district is expanding this year from 400 students and 28 teachers to 1,000 students and 38 teachers, and will further expand to a fourth school in the next school year. Along with increasing achievement in science, reading and writing, as well as collaboration skills and engagement, fourth-grade teacher Molly Hayes says the program reduces the digital achievement gap between students who already have tablet access and those who do not.

    14. GAINING THE TRUST OF ADMINISTRATORS
    Directors of Minnesota’s Hibbing School Board are eager to integrate iPads into classrooms. For Superintendent Robert Belluzzo says that wasn’t the case two years ago, but seeing how the iPad has enhanced education in classrooms nationwide made believers out of him and other board members. Now, Hibbing administrators are formulating a technology plan and eyeing Lincoln Elementary School and Hibbing High School for a potential one-to-one initiative.

    15. EXAPNDING THEIR HIGHER ED PRESENCE
    Don’t think K-12 is having all of the fun. Through technology grants, many higher education institutions, like Yale, are integrating iPads into the classroom experience through various programs, and in subjects ranging from food writing to biology.

    16. MAKING OLD SCHOOL SUPPLIES OBSOLETE
    At Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, Calif., iPads aren’t just expected to replace textbooks by next year, but pens and paper, as well. Students will even submit homework and assignments through the school’s wireless connection. A technology fee will be implemented to cover the costs of the tablets.

    17. RE-IMAGINING HOW NEWSPAPERS ARE USED IN CLASS
    The longstanding Newspapers In Education program was designed to hook young readers on the habit of reading newspapers by dropping them off for free at schools and incorporating the content into lesson plans. In keeping with the times, The Boston Globe is providing iPads, projectors and free digital subscriptions to local public school classrooms as a 21st Century take on the program.

    • Billy

      Wow, you must work for Apple.

      • Mason County Contrarian

        No, thirty-four years in the classroom trying to protect students and their parents from pie-in-the-sky programs from mediocre administrators at the Ivory Tower.

        • Mason County Contrarian

          Sorry, Billy. That should be "Billy" in my initial sentence. "Mac"could very well be another WVDE-approved snake oil salesman. I would not be surprised to find him applying his rehearsed "telemarketing" script at a school system near you.

        • Billy

          Sorry, I was refering to Mac. I also thank you for trying to help the children. In 34 years I know you have seen many mistakes from Ivory tower group.

          • Mason County Contrarian

            No offense taken, mac. Ask any experienced teacher and they will tell you each new academic year itself becomes a greater challenge as the WVDE recreates the wheel--and when you consider it is staffed largely by "professionals" whose mediocre teaching skills drove them out of the classroom and whose teaching strategies are based upon theory rather than practicality--we should all be concerned.

    • Mason County Contrarian

      I thought of another, mac.

      18. Employing more bureaucratic Ineptocrats at the State Department of Education/Bells and Whistles Division.

  • Billy

    Most of the ipad use has been playing minecraft and other games. A large percentage of parents as well as teachers do not like them. But in Raleigh County the Board of Education does not take that into consideration. I think their intelligence has outsmarted their common sense.

    • Jean

      I'm not sure what teachers you have talked to, but they have been such a time saver in our school. I admit, minecraft and other games are being played on there, but they would be played anyway. It was such a joy to see kids out in public carrying their green rubber covered iPads. There will always be haters for something.

      • Billy

        I have talked to several and there was a article in the local paper with one teacher saying that her class had done less learning this year because of them. Most children have become addicted to these games and do not want to do anything else. Like the poster Mac wrote, they are going to do away with pencils and paper. So I guess this will be the first generation that will not be able to write with a pencil. I am not against using them as a learning tool, but to totally use them and not teach writing with pencils is not progress. Just because I disagree with their planned future use does not make me a hater. Why can they not use both. If the people of Raleigh County had a chance to vote on using them it would have most likely ended up like the last school building levy, voted down. I don't know who you have been talking to either. Maybe you have a vested interest in the use of them.