Earlier this year Apple announced their plan to help revitalize the American Education System by putting digital textbooks on iPads into the hands of high school students. Apple’s belief is that learning on an iPad is a far superior experience to lugging around printed books that aren’t interactive. We compappletely agree that interactive learning is the road America needs to take, but getting there is going to be a huge problem. A recent study shows that using paper textbooks in schools is a lot cheaper than iPads, and that’s not likely to change unless Apple takes some drastic steps to reduce cost.
Using paper textbooks in the average high school class currently costs about $180,000 but switching to iPads would cost $430,000. Many proponents of using the iPad in the classroom say that the iPad is more cost effective in the long run because the tablet doesn’t need to be replaced as often. But with the average lifespan of a textbook being about 5 years, it looks like schools may need to replace iPads just as often as they replace their paper books.
What if schools stopped spending money on computers and just bought iPads, wouldn’t that work? Nope, not even close. Schools spent $2 billion on computers last year, which is only enough to supply 10% of students with iPads. Combine the problems of our nation’s massive deficit, the current price of the iPad, and the rate of school spending on technology, and we see that it might take 10 years for schools across the country to adopt iPads if spending stays the same. That’s if they decide to go with the expensive route in the first place.
Here’s a handy infographic on why using paper textbooks are so much cheaper than using iPads.