BELTON - At their regular meeting Monday, the Belton ISD Board of Trustees approved a plan to increase students' access to technology learning tools.
All 2,400 students at Belton High School will receive iPads in Fall 2012.
"So at the point, every student will have equal access to technology," Belton High School Principal Kathy Cook said. "That's absolutely wonderful."
In the past, the schools had a "Bring your own device" policy, but for families who weren't able to afford devices such as laptops, androids, or iPhones, some kids were left out.
"Not every student was able to, so some students took notes with paper and pencil and looked things up the regular way, like they would always do," Principal Cook said. "But that kind of left the few students behind, and we don't want that. We want all students to have the same opportunities."
The Board authorized the purchase of iPads which is costing about $1.2 million, but school officials said it will actually help save money in the long run.
The device will cut down on the costs of everything from paper to textbooks.
"We have been learning about technology in the classroom for at least 10 years," Deputy Superintendent Darrell Becker said. "Textbooks are very expensive and unfortunately, they are almost immediately out of date."
And with less textbooks, students will have a lighter load to carry in their backpacks.
"The iPad is fun and easy to use, so it also helps encourage students to study," Principal Cook said.
"We think the iPads will transform instruction in many of the classrooms," Becker said. "Instruction looks a lot like it did, as far back as the 70's or even the 60's."
Students, teachers, and parents will all receive training to properly care for the new devices. The iPads will be passed out about a month after school begins.
District officials said the money for the purchase of the devices came from government funding, as the districts no longer have to use the funding for textbooks. They may now be used to purchase technology hardware and software.
No money had to be transferred from other departments, and no job cuts resulted from this purchase.
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