Crenshaw County School System Brings i-Pad For Students Starting Summer

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By Catalina Trivino

One south Alabama school system is taking classroom learning to the next level...

Crenshaw County students are putting away the textbooks and bringing out the i-Pads. It's all part the county's "iLearn Initiative," which will start next school year.

Every student from 9th through the 12th grade will get an i-Pad Mini to bring into the classroom, as well as take home.

"A lot of our students would not have access to this technology otherwise," Said Crenshaw County Schools Superintendent, Randy Wilkes. "We also surveyed the homes to find out that, even as rural as we are, 70 percent of our homes have internet access. For the books to operate like they need to, you do not have to have internet access."

School officials said they'll distribute nearly 900 i-Pads across the school system. Teachers will also be provided the device. While elementary and middle schoolers won't get to take an i-Pad home, they'll have access to portable labs.

Wilkes said in order to fund the "iLearn Initiative," the school system has been setting aside money for nearly three years. The county budgets about $60,000 annually for textbooks, but they'll save about $15,000 a year using the i-Pads -- and students aren't complaining.

"You're not limited to information like you are in a book. You have the internet to use," Said eleventh grader, Clark Kilcrease.

"Well, a text book is so bulky and sometimes it's heavy and some people don't take books home with them because they don't want to have to carry them around all day," Said another student, Kelsey Hall.

This summer, eleventh and twelfth graders will get the chance to take home the i-Pad Mini. School officials told us their goal is to give everyone else access to one by Spring 2014.

Crenshaw County isn't the only one going digital -- Covington County School Superintendent, Terry Holley, said the system expects to replace textbooks with digital tablets within the next two years.