TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Arizona School No Longer Uses Textbooks

Arizona School No Longer Uses Textbooks

Newswire (
Mon, 11 Jul 2005 10:19:26 -0500

A high school in Vail will become the state's first all-wireless,
all-laptop public school this fall. The 350 students at the school
will not have traditional textbooks. Instead, they will use electronic
and online articles as part of more traditional teacher lesson plans.

Vail Unified School District's decision to go with an all-electronic
school is rare, experts say. Often, cost, insecurity, ignorance and
institutional constraints prevent schools from making the leap away
from paper.

"The efforts are very sporadic," said Mark Schneiderman, director of
education policy for the Software and Information Industry Association.
"A minority of communities are doing a good or very good job, but a
large number are just not there on a number of levels."

Calvin Baker, superintendent of Vail Unified School District, said the
move to electronic materials gets teachers away from the habit of
simply marching through a textbook each year.

He noted that the AIMS test now makes the state standards the
curriculum, not textbooks. Arizona students will soon need to pass
Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards to graduate from high

But the move to laptops is not cheap. The laptops cost $850 each, and
the district will hand them to 350 students for the entire year. The
fast-growing district hopes to have 750 students at the high school

A set of textbooks runs about $500 to $600, Baker said. It's not
clear how the change to laptops will work, he conceded.

"I'm sure there are going to be some adjustments. But we visited other
schools using laptops. And at the schools with laptops, students were
just more engaged than at non-laptop schools," he said.

On the Net:
Vail Unified School District:
Information from: Arizona Daily Star,

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.

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