Boone Grove students will dump textbooks for iPads
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent April 18, 2013 10:12PM
Updated: April 18, 2013 10:39PM
VALPARAISO — Instead of textbooks when they start school this fall, Boone Grove High School students will have iPads.
The Porter Township School Corp. board approved the school’s participation in the 1:1 Initiative, which will replace textbooks with computer tablets and appropriate programs, including books created and published by teachers using iBook Author.
This will mean no more textbook fees, but the school will charge a $115 rental fee for the pads.
Superintendent Stacey Schmidt said, based on average book rental costs across grades, some people will see an increase in fees and some a decrease. Only textbook fees will be waived, not other costs like material and transportation fees.
Parents will also have to pay $22 for a protective cover that will go with the students all four years, even after students turn in the iPads each summer, and they’ll have to pay a deductible for any damage to the iPads.
The school corporation is funding this and teacher training using grants and its debt service fund.
Schmidt said others using individual devices for each student have seen a decrease in behavioral problems and dropouts and better student performance. Teachers are better able to spend individual time with students, she said.
High School Principal Garry DeRossett said there will be other cost savings, such as no charge for student handbooks that will be with the device and online.
Schmidt and DeRossett said this is teaching kids for the 21st century, where jobs they’ll work haven’t been invented yet.
“Some of you are using the device now. Why aren’t we training our kids that way?” he said.
He said the kids are excited about the possibility, and he thinks enrollment will increase because of the program.
Math Department chairman Rollie Thill said the teachers are more excited than he’s seen before.
“We’re looking at the renaissance,” he said.