We know that some people are very excited to replace traditional textbooks with digital textbooks on Ipads to save money. The argument is that at $14.95 a digital text is so much cheaper than the $65 textbook. But as this Sharon Noguchi ipad article (see very cool infographic) points out, the math may not be there. After schools buy the hardware they still have to buy the $14.95 text book for each student each year! Yes, EACH YEAR! As the system works now, the student owns access to the book not the school, so each new student will need a new $14.95 book each year.
While I am not sure I agree with all of the assumptions in the cost comparison, this “discount digital textbook” argument is missing the point. Digital textbooks are only one use of the iPad and most likely one of the less effective ones (unless they get much more interactive in a short period of time). Using textbook money to purchase a tool that could offer truly differentiated learning and authentic assessment should be the goal, not just buying cheaper electronic versions of static textbooks.
Schools should have a vision for iPad use as part of a larger instructional plan and, unfortunately as this article shows us, many schools are buying tablet computers without a plan.