Grandview, Mo. School District Superintendent Michael Brown is testing a pilot project to take the school system paperless. Using Android tablet devices, students are moving from physical textbooks to electronic ones. Note and test taking are also taking place without pen and paper using the technology.
Earlier this year, district officials purchased 20 HaiPad Android electronic tablets at $145 apiece and are in the process of distributing them to students and staff at Grandview High School. Brown said if board members are pleased with the pilot study, he will ask them to approve the purchase of 400 more Android units to be distributed to approximately 360 students, as well as staff members, in the high school. He said the larger quantity order should bring the price down to approximately $120 per unit.
“We spend approximately $330 per pupil per year on textbooks,” he said. “Over four years, that’s over $1,500. With the Android tablet, we’ll issue it to a student when he’s in the ninth grade. The kids have Internet access wherever they are in the building. Textbooks can be downloaded to the tablets.”
Matt Zoph, the high school technology director and librarian, pointed out that while textbooks would provide the largest single area of savings by going digital, it is not the only cost that can be eliminated. For example, the Androids are set up to contain graphing and science calculators, both of which can cost $75 to $100 if purchased as separate items in stores.
Brown said students who are growing up with electronic gadgets of all sorts in their homes should adapt to a paperless school with little trouble.
Those given Androids will have the same responsibility in protecting them as they would with other school equipment they are issued. “If they lose it, they bought it, just like a textbook,” he said. If the board approves the Android idea, the high school will phase out textbooks, Brown said. He estimates the high school can be paperless in five years.