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.