Area middle schoolers trading in textbooks for iPads

By: Martha Boehm Email
By: Martha Boehm Email

BANGOR, WI (WEAU)--Bangor Middle School teacher Rick Muellenberg says his students have never been excited about getting their textbooks on the first day of school, but today they couldn’t wait to start studying with their new iPads.

"Everything will be very timely versus a textbook," Muellenberg said. "Once it’s published, there are no changes to it and so the updates we get are free updates, so the information stays relevant and pertinent to that moment without having to pay again for it.”

Bangor Middle and High School Principal Don Addington says the school district ordered about 140 iPads--one for each middle schooler--at about $450 a piece. The district paid for the iPads with surplus school funds and a one-time refund from the school’s utility use.

"In the long-run it’s going to be a cost-savings for the district because textbooks are sometimes $80 or more a copy and if we go with virtual textbooks on the iPad, that’s going to be at a fraction of the cost," Addington said.

If the iPad breaks or gets stolen, Addington says it’s covered under the school district’s insurance policy. Starting next week, the students will be able to bring them home to use.

"Our backpacks won’t be nearly as heavy as they were and it’s going to be really nice," said 6th grader Elizabeth Nicolai.

Muellenberg says he’s just as excited as the students to work with new technology.

"We want this to be a great learning tool for you," Muellenberg told the students. "And in this multimedia class, we’ll be using these every single day."

Principal Addington says right now English is the only class that has dropped the traditional textbook and put the updated electronic version on the iPad. He says in the future, they may drop more books and add more aps to the iPad.

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  • by Bill Location: Eau claire on Sep 2, 2011 at 08:47 AM
    Hey chris, before you make comments that lack common sense, perhaps you should read the whole article. It clearly states that the books are in the I-pad and that instead of the school having to purchase new books every 5 years, they get the upgrades for the reading material for FREE! That means that that rather than asking the taxpayer for more money for books, they can save money and put it towards other basic upgrades. Also, you talk about the tried and true way of the old days, here's a thought, if the tried and true way worked, why does this country rank 32 amongst developed countries in mat and science?! Perhaps you ought to take a few basic economic classes and history classes before you make comments that bare no common sense!
    • reply
      by Curious on Sep 5, 2011 at 12:50 PM in reply to Bill
      Right on, Bill! You have common sense and, it appears, a formal education! Wicked! Have you thought about running for the Eau Claire School Board?
    • reply
      by ok on Sep 8, 2011 at 09:27 PM in reply to Bill
      Bill, I read it and it says only English has replaced traditional textbooks. My guess is that they are hoping to replace textbooks but have only been able to replace English textbooks, so the students have a $450 English book and are the school is still buying the "$80" textbooks for other areas. Ipads are fine, I have 2, but without cell service they are really just a large fragile smartphone without the calling features. Also consider that even though the book updates may be free, likely the new editions are not, just the updates to the current edition, and at "$80" a textbook you can buy 5 textbooks for the price of the ipad that will last 5 years, by the time the school is ready to replace the traditional textbook, 5 yrs, the original ipad that they bought is obsolete (likely almost two times over) and they will have to buy a new one. Technology is great when used in the right places, but is this the right technology, in the right place?
  • by anon Location: ec on Sep 1, 2011 at 08:29 PM
    teacher friend told me ECASD goes with textbooks because of the 'deals' they get, and he said it with a wink, just sayin-
    • reply
      by Gary on Sep 2, 2011 at 05:58 AM in reply to anon
      not to mention ECASD likes to stay in the past
  • by Chris on Sep 1, 2011 at 06:19 PM
    What a CROCK. Our failing school system is NOT because of a lack of technology. New technology will NEVER save us money. First they replaced overhead projectors with computer plug in ones. Now they need a fancy laptop just to use it. Why don't they just stick with the tried and true for once. Give the dang kids a book and make them read it.
    • reply
      by Ben on Sep 2, 2011 at 04:24 AM in reply to Chris
      The world revolves around information technology. This school district is doing the right thing - preparing kids for the real world.
  • by John W Location: cf on Sep 1, 2011 at 05:27 PM
    Surplus school funds? Never heard that before! Maybe Mr. Walker knew what he was doing? You will never hear that from a teacher, it's all about the kids right?
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