Iowa School District Goes All Digital: Trades Textbooks For Macbooks

In a bold move, the school district in Van Meter, Iowa has gone completely digital. This doesn’t mean they simply handed out some expensive computers and walked away…the school actually ditched traditional paper-based learning and is actively using the laptops in their new digital curriculum.

In the 2009-2010 school year, the district handed out laptops to all its seventh to twelfth grade students. The school district signed a four-year lease agreement with Apple to provide the students with Macbook laptops. The program costs about US$149,000 per year and is funded by the district’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and School Infrastructure Local Option (SILO) tax. It hopes to have the funds to extend this program to K-12 students by the 2012-2013 school year.

The response towards the program has been enthusiastic. School board member John Seefeld was “amazed at students’ attentiveness, how engaged they were and how they seemed to be learning better under the new format.”

Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass took a tour of the program and remarked that “after two years of exploring the capacity of the devices, the kids and teachers are learning and evolving in their own knowledge of how powerful new technology can be.”

Source: The Iowa Independent via TUAW

1 Comment

  1. desmoinesdem

    June 22, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Does any research support this approach? Seems like a lot of screen time for teenagers who may already be having lots of screen time outside school. I know college professors who think their students are more distracted/less focused now that many bring laptops to class, compared to the days when students were taking notes on lectures by hand. Some don't bother taking notes at all, just download the teacher's power point.

    I would especially not want my elementary-school-aged kids to be conditions to sit staring at a laptop for much of the day at school. They can learn a tremendous amount from books and simple classroom materials.