Madison Schools to Receive 1,400 iPads by Next Fall

Madison, Wisconsin is set to join the long list of districts experimenting with blending technology with traditional instruction by exploring the capabilities of wireless tablet computers in the classrooms.

The majority of schools in the district will receive 600 iPads in the spring, with another 800 being introduced by next fall, writes Matthew DeFour at the Wisconsin State Journal.

With the tablets, students are able to wirelessly share work and replace digital workbooks with ease. And now, with the unveiling of Apple's iBooks application, more districts could soon be inclined to make the transition.

Bill Smojver, the district's director of technical services, said:

"This is the most significant transition point for having digital learning at the optimal level."

Tablet devices offer a cheaper alternative to computers and laptops. And their portability makes them ideal for the classroom.

Deputy superintendent Sue Abplanalp believes that students are more engaged when using tablets.

"We're very open to what technology is going to bring us next," she said.

The iPads are set to debut in various schools across the district, pending School Board approval.

Sandburg Elementary plans to experiment with the 105 iPads by introducing them in four classrooms. Other schools will be using them to let teachers plan their classes and keep records.

State Superintendent Tony Evers is set to introduce a statewide digital learning plan next week. The plan includes insight from various state and local technology experts and has taken a year to write.

Utah is also about to launch a project that will develop open source digital textbooks. Kurt Kiefer, assistant state superintendent for libraries, technology and community learning, said that the digital learning plan will recommend exploring those kinds of options more aggressively, he said.

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