The school district plans to offer the iPads to 5th grade, 8th grade and select high school classes starting this fall

The Unified School District in San Diego, California is receiving nearly 26,000 iPads as soon as this fall. The school district's commitment has been labeled the largest iPad deployment in K-12 schools in the United States.

The students will likely be using iBooks, which is an application that provides students with textbooks on the iPad as well as new study options like note-taking. Students can also use this app as well as others for writing and math without having to carry several heavy books to class. Overall, iBooks offers a more interactive learning experience that the district hopes will engage students.

"The more engaging the content is, the more the students want to be in there," said Amanda Ferguson, an iBooks developer for Pearson Education. "They want to be reading, they want to be learning."

While the idea behind the iPad deployment is sound, many were curious as to how the district was able to pull off a $15 million bill from Apple for 26,000 iPads in a total of 340 classrooms. 

The answer is Proposition S funding, which was passed in 2008 and offered money for classroom technology. Each iPad was purchased at $370 a piece.

The school district plans to offer the iPads to 5th grade, 8th grade and select high school classes starting this fall.

Apple released its latest iBooks 2 app back in January of this year, which is the sequel to the original iBooks app. The latest version offers new interactive games and study guides in addition to textbooks. In the first three days of release, 350,000 textbooks were downloaded from the iBooks store.

Using iPads in schools could mean great savings on books. IBook production costs are about 80 percent less than print publication according to Global Equities Research. With supply chain markup on textbooks between 33 and 35 percent, cutting out the middlemen between the publisher to the retailer and instead delivering digital textbooks from the publisher to the student via iBooks will present considerable savings.

Most books in iBooks 2 are at the high school level and started off at $14.99 or less. The app also offers books from well-known publishers like Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which combined make up 90 percent of textbooks available.

Back in March, McGraw Hill predicted that the new iPad will boost e-textbook adoption. It looks like the publisher was right, with 26,000 being the biggest school deployment so far.

Source: 10News

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