Some schools ditching textbooks for iPADs and tablets

BLYTHEWOOD (WACH) -- It isn TMt your normal library setting at Muller Road Middle School. It TMs filled with sofas which makes for a perfect place to recline and read book. Well thats if you can find one. That's because this school has gone paperless.

We have the opportunity for students to really go forward in the 21st century," says Lori Marrerro, Principal.

Muller Road Middle is the first school in Richland District Two to incorporate iPADs into the school's curriculum. Students also use them as textbooks. Principal Lori Marrero says this new initiative cuts down on costs.

Schools spend an inordinate amount of money on paper. Just copy paper making copies of things probably more than most people recognize, says Marrero.

Sixth grader Andrew Busbee says the iPAD has so many apps that helps students in a variety of ways.

Specifically one called notarize, you can use that for studying you can draw on it make notes, says Andrew Busbee, 6th grader.

The state Department of Education funds textbook purchases.

An agency spokesman says as more instructional materials are produced in digital format, department officials expect the costs of purchasing non digital format materials to decline.

I have mixed feelings about going completely paperless. I think that it TMs a tool like any other, says Stephen Miano.

Stephen Miano is the owner of That Computer Store in Irmo.

He TMs up on all the latest advancements in technology. Miano says he agrees with the need to go paperless but school districts should proceed with caution.

I think that we do run the risk of kids forgetting how to use crayons and pens and pencils. The visceral feel of a book, the smell of a book, turning of the pages there's a lot of value in that, says Miano.

What about the idea of becoming to dependent on the devices and students losing penmanship?

We use a note taking app that allows them to either type or handwrite stuff. So they are continuing to handwrite. That has not gone away, says Marrero.

Blythewood Middle School is following in Muller Road's footsteps handing out nearly 600 ThinkPad tablets to its students two weeks ago.

What we are hearing from the work field, is that they want well rounded graduates, says Brenda Hafner, Principal Blythewood Middle.

Richland District Two officials say they hope the initiative to introduce more technology into the classroom will connect and launch students into the next phase of their education.

Lexington School District One started to incorporate iPad's into the school curriculum this fall.