Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Arizona School Will Not Use Textbooks

Filed under
Sci/Tech

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 school.

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 eventually.

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.

Associated Press

More in Tux Machines

IT pros to move to open source software in 2015

IT professionals are expected to move away from proprietary to open source software in 2015, according to new research. A survey by Ponemon Institute and Zimbra shows 67 per cent of EMEA IT professionals agree that commercial open source software offers better business continuity. 74 per cent in the US also agree open source is better for business continuity, compared to propriety software. Read more

Open-source development of Pirate Bay replacement could make site immune to police takedown

Online torrent repository IsoHunt has launched a $100,000 (£66,000) competition to encourage open-source development of The Old Pirate Bay, the popular torrent site set up in the wake of The Pirate Bay's shutdown. The unprecedented move to offer prize money will mean that an open-source community will be responsible for developing the site rather than a closed team, therefore making the site more difficult to take down. Read more Also: IsoHunt Is Sick of Closed-Development; Offers $100,000 for Open-Source Developers isoHunt offers $100,000 to ‘most active’ Old Pirate Bay contributors

Android continues to increase its market share at others’ expenseby

Android continued, in the Q3 2014, to dominate the market according to IDC, having gained 84.4% of the market by the end of the quarter, compared to 81.2% for the same period in 2013. Read more

Real-time enabled Sitara SoC shows up on a COM

Variscite unveiled a Linux-friendly, SODIMM-style COM based on TI’s Sitara AM437x, supporting the updated SoC’s quad-core Programmable Real-time Unit (PRU). The VAR-SOM-AM43 is the first computer-on-module we’ve seen to use the Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x, a single-core Cortex-A9 system-on-chip that clocks to 1GHz. Last month, Adeneo announced an Android 4.4 BSP for TI’s Sitara AM437x development platform. Variscite is supporting its VAR-SOM-AM43 with a Yocto Linux, and soon, Android-ready hardware/software development kit of its own, which includes a VAR-AM43 CustomBoard development board, touchscreens, cables, and more Read more