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School estimates iPad plan will save $750K annually

By Margo Spann, mspann@wisctv.com
Published On: May 16 2013 10:45:19 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2013 11:18:15 PM CDT

Channel3000.com

BELOIT, Wis. -

The Beloit School District is spending more than $1 million to keep students plugged in to technology.

It's no secret many kids would rather tap a screen than turn a page. IPads have already been incorporated into learning in Beloit. Now the Assistant Superintendent Lynee Tourdot said the school district is buying them for all of its students.

"It will not only help us with academic progress in the classroom, it will help us with our college and career initiatives," Tourdot said. "It will help us getting students more focus and engaged in the classroom."

Beloit's second and fifth graders will get iPads later this year, and more grade levels will be added each semester. The goal is to have the Apple tablet devices in classes district-wide in less than two years. The district already has more than 600 iPads.

Tourdot said traditional computer labs will soon be history. She estimates the tablets will save the district about $750,000 each year.

"Even though we are adding devices we'll still save on energy, we'll save on text books, we'll save on paper costs, toner costs, copier costs, a lot of those different things," Tourdot said.

News 3 spoke to parents at Beloit's Riverside Park. Elvia Edler said giving the students iPads is a good idea.

"You can download books online and they can read from there," Elder said. "I think they're more interested in advanced things like that."

Parent Missy Long supports the idea only if the technology doesn't leave kids vulnerable online.

"I don't think they'll be able to monitor all the kids to keep them safe whereas a parent in their own home could monitor their own children," she said.

Tourdot said she and the other district leaders are hoping the exposure to technology will create opportunities for more personalized learning.

"No longer are we limited by 'Here's the text book for science and I can't take you beyond that.'" Tourdot said. "Obviously we do things to take kids beyond that but now we have this wide-open door of opportunity."

Equipping classrooms with iPads is a growing trend in Rock County. The Parkview School District will also add iPads to its classrooms later this year. Milton students have been using them for a several years.

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