The state of Wisconsin is planning to use part of a nearly $80 million legal settlement from Microsoft to purchase 1400 iPads for educational use in Madison area schools, reports Apple Insider. The settlement arose from claims that Microsoft was overcharging for software.
School district director of technical Bill Smojver considers the move to be an excellent choice, stating to the Wisconsin State Journal that the tablets are far cheaper, more portable, and easier to use than traditional computers, and expresses his excitement over the new digital tools:
This is the most significant transition point for having digital learning at the optimal level.
Smojver also expressed a great deal of enthusiasm over Apple’s recent announcement of iBooks textbooks and the new ‘iBooks Author‘ creation tool, which be believes is a significant development. He states that the iPads will allow students to wirelessly share work, and pave the way for digital textbooks within the schools, although he also notes that the schools will need to proceed with caution over replacing traditional textbooks.
The settlement averaged to around $85 per child, enabling the Wisconsin schools to purchase classroom sets of the tablets, although other schools have decided to spend the money on smart boards, laptops and other technology equipment rather than iPads.
According to the report, there are now around 50 school districts within Wisconsin that are implementing the iPad as educational tools, with some schools allowing students to use the devices directly, and other schools instead granting them to teachers for use as organization and record keeping tools.