DECATUR — New science textbooks cost about $65 each, and by the time they’ve gone through editing, printing, and distribution, are likely already out of date.
Holy Family School’s science texts next year will be up-to-the minute and cost only $15, because every sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grader will have the use of an iPad with an electronic version of the curriculum.
“They can do study guides on there to make sure they know the right answers to prepare for tests, and they’ll have access to (the information online),” said science teacher Cinda Farris. “What’s most exciting for me is, it’s current data. There’ll be activities they can do with the iPad, activities that we might not be able to do in our classroom, so this is going to be good experiences for them.”
The charging cabinet was in the computer lab for a few days before its contents were revealed, said computer teacher Kayla Wiggins, and guesses on what it was were all over the map — oven, dishwasher, heater — but they were excited when they found out.
“The work they do on the iPads will be online so they can use it at home,” Farris said. “In the future, we plan to have enough for every student, and it’s going to save money on textbooks. What’s really exciting is how much we’ll save on paper.”
IPads have been used occasionally this year to give kids practice on reading and math skills, Wiggins said, but they’ll be used far more next year when there are enough for every student.
Besides the texts and the online access at home, Wiggins said, iPad resources are enormous.
“Every teacher will also have an iPad, so every classroom will also have an iPad at every level,” she said.
Farris knows a third-grader who brings her own iPad to school.
“She brings it in before school, and she sits there and works on her math facts and her spelling words, just for fun,” Farris said. “And the app is so cute, I swear, some of the kids don’t even realize they’re learning.”