By Ryan Dean
Washington, MO (KSDK) - Forget the textbook and pencils, instead, grab your iPad.
St. Francis Borgia Regional High School in Washington, Missouri, has all of its 540 students learning on computer tablets. The private Catholic school didn't provide the iPads, rather required each student to buy their own.
St. Francis Borgia President, George Wingbermuehle said they gave parents more than a year notice that the school was going to mandate each student buy an iPad, so they could plan ahead. He says only about two parents had an issue with policy.
"The parents bought into it immediately. They saw it was something very positive for their child," Wingbermuehle said.
The Bank of Washington, partnered with St. Francis Borgia to offer students a low interest loan (1% for a one year loan, 2% for a two year loan, and 3% for a three year loan) that couldn't afford the costs up front. Depending on the version, new iPads can sell for around $500.
St. Francis Borgia installed flat screen televisions in each classroom so teachers can mirror what's on their iPad to the class. The school is working on phasing out hardcover textbooks, instead providing the textbook on the iPad. The hope is to become a paperless school.
"In my opinion, and I'm a 42nd year educator, so I've been around a while...things have not changed in the last 40 years, as they have in the last two years. It definitely a revolution in education. There is nothing in the past 40 years that compares to what is happening right now," Wingbermuehle said.
Many public schools in the St. Louis area are experimenting with tablets in the classroom. Some schools provide the device, while others offer a BYOD program (Bring Your Own Device). The BYOD programs are voluntary, meaning students are not forced to have a tablet.
Could you see a day where local public schools require students to buy their own tablet?