Elementary students in the New Prairie Union School Corporation are saying good bye to textbooks, and hello to technology.
This year, the schools have introduced iPads as a new way to learn. Textbooks have not completely vanished, yet. Subjects like math, social studies and science still require a hard copy, but faculty hope in time they can move to a 100% digital approach.
Right now, the only program that is completely online is Reading. Other classes are using the iPad as a learning tool and a hands-on way to engage students.
According to staff, the iPads are cheaper too.
"It's fiscally responsible for our taxpaying community, it's cheaper. Textbooks cost a lot of money when you have to pay for a textbook over 6 years, and a digital subscription usually saves between 25 and 40 percent," said Carrie Cannon, the director of curriculum at New Prairie Schools.
In addition to cost, staff says space was a reason for the switch.
"Right now we have a capacity issue with that, we don't have enough computer labs to support the demands from the Indiana Department of Education," said Cannon. "We now have a keyboarding expectation from state as well."
Next year, middle and high school students will also use iPads in the classroom. For now, just elementary students, grades K-5, are testing out the tablets.
The iPads are funded by the school through a refinanced bond, capital project funds and textbook rental fees.