Arizona’s Empire High School shuns printed textbooks for Apple iBooks

“Students at Empire High School here [Vail, Ariz.] started class this year with no textbooks _ but it wasn’t because of a funding crisis. Instead, the school issued iBooks _ laptop computers by Apple Computer Inc. _ to each of its 340 students, becoming one of the first U.S. public schools to shun printed textbooks,” Arthur H. Rothstein reports for The Associated Press.

“‘We’ve always been pretty aggressive in use of technology and we have a history of taking risks,’ said Calvin Baker, superintendent of the Vail Unified School District, which has 7,000 students outside of Tucson,” Rothstein reports. “Schools typically overlay computers onto their instruction ‘like frosting on the cake,’ Baker said. ‘We decided that the real opportunity was to make the laptops the key ingredient of the cake. … to truly change the way that schools operated.'”

Rothstein reports, “All of Empire’s students knew about the laptop-only setup when they enrolled, and students who were uncomfortable with it were allowed to enroll in the district’s other, more traditional schools. But Empire has a waiting list. Julian Tarazon, a freshman, said he doesn’t miss lugging around a bag full of books. ‘It was kind of hard at first, because you had to put things in folders,’ Julian said, referring, naturally, to virtual folders on his computer’s desktop. ‘After a couple of days, you kind of get used to it.'”

Full article here.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Chatham County (NC) rolls out 1,000 of eventual 7,400 Apple iBooks for students and teachers – August 17, 2005
Apple announces 30,000 iBooks deal with Florida’s Broward County Public Schools – July 27, 2005

24 Comments

  1. if it works, more power to ’em… but what’ll happen to the tradition of wasting class time by reading the doodles left in the margins by the previous twelve students who’ve used the textbook?

  2. If everyone is wondering, this is probably a charter school, not a public school, and such schools are known for going out of the edge of teaching. Kids that go to charter schools end up getting better test scores than normal public schools too. Some day the public sector of schooling will catch up to them.

  3. “…what’ll happen to the tradition of wasting class time by reading the doodles left in the margins by the previous twelve students who’ve used the textbook?”

    it shall be a lost endeavour, as will the creating such textbook addendums, footnotes and art. soon it shall go the way of the dodo, just like the Sony Casssette Walkman did.

    on the other hand you might just have more excuses to not do homework (“I spilled Pepsi on the keyboard… really!”) or have a real legit problem if you mistakenly drop your bookbag/laptop carrier down the stair whilst changing classes.

  4. If everyone is wondering, this is probably a charter school, not a public school, and such schools are known for going out of the edge of teaching. Kids that go to charter schools end up getting better test scores than normal public schools too. Some day the public sector of schooling will catch up to them.

    eh.. charter school? you mean.. PRIVATE school?

    wow, they get better test scores.. would that be because.. the school has about 340 students.. and hence, a much better student:teacher ratio?

    And no the public school system, by its very nature, will never catch up.

    When the East Compton High is using iPods, the private school’s will be beaming language lessons into your brain.

  5. Golly, Miss Johnson, I did my homework. Ask my brother Wally! Really I did. But my dog, he stepped on the keyboard when he was chasing the cat, and he deleted the folder where I was storing my science project.

    What was the project about? Well, Miss Johnson, it was about the psychological trauma Eddie Haskell wen through with the canellation of the show, and why he went into porn as a result.

    Yes, I know the subject of porn is banned in our school, but truly I wasn’t going to show any of that yucky stuff. I mean, who would want to see that bean pole naked anyway? Though I do have a few pictures of Hugh Beaumont in a speedo if you’d like to see.

    Okay, then, just spotlight stuf-muffin dad.

  6. i’d imagine a good network backup system… or better yet, Wireless access points and autobackup would be really cool to have… syncing your harddrive every log in, so you don’t lost too much if your unit fails.

  7. Only real problem is that iBooks don’t hold up as well as paper textbooks when the school bully knocks it out of some kid’s hand.

    I suppose you could get around that problem by making bully’s mom & dad foot the bill for repairs/new iBook

  8. “If everyone is wondering, this is probably a charter school, not a public school, and such schools are known for going out of the edge of teaching. Kids that go to charter schools end up getting better test scores than normal public schools too. Some day the public sector of schooling will catch up to them”

    We’re not wondering, because we took a minute to do some research, We found out that it’s a normal public high school; it’s just that it’s brand new, so they’re only enrolling freshmen and sophomores this year. When full, it will be twice the size. Kudos to them for going out of the edge of teaching. Some day the private sector of schooling will catch up to them.

  9. Kinda funny they mentioned the now infamous Henrico School Board in the article. After that (expected) mayhem, in my mind I keep associating Henrico with Wayco.

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