Some Experts Worry About Disparity Between Have, Have-Not School Districts

ROSLYN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The backpacks are a lot lighter in one local high school, where iPads are replacing many of the textbooks.

Every high school student is receiving one.

But at what cost?

It’s in with the new at Roslyn High School, where iPads are being handed out, the first school on Long Island to equip its entire student body.

“The fact that we have access to Internet on the spot helps us,” Roslyn High senior Samin Rahman told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Monday.

“It helps me organize my schedule a lot more efficiently,” junior Mahim Rahman added.

A growing number of schools nationwide are finding tablets trump textbooks when it comes to teaching.

“We can use apps you just can’t have in a textbook or a SMART board, apps that reach almost anyone,” social studies teacher Mary Mahapath said.

“These are kids that were born into the Internet. This is how they are used to getting and processing information,” English teacher Larry Reiff added.

Reiff said his classrooms are now paperless.

He touts tablets for making learning to come to life with interactive videos and images. The small touch screen also makes learning portable.

But a Hofstra University professor of education technology said he worries about the great divide between richer and poorer school districts.

“I’m for it as long as it’s done in an equitable way. If we are going to be giving access to some, we have to think about how we will be giving access to all,” Dr. Roberto Joseph said.

Officials in Roslyn said they didn’t raise taxes to pay for 1,100 tablets. The $450 per loaded tablet is offset by savings in textbooks, computers and printing.

“We were making 17.5 million copies in our school district and that number has been cut in half,” Roslyn School District Superintendent Dr. Dan Brenner said.

The cost of Wi-Fi is prohibitive for many districts. Roslyn’s Wi-Fi was already in place. But some districts even with the tightest budgets are finding the technology is more of a necessity than a luxury.

Roslyn School District officials said they phased in the entire high school gradually, purchasing 250 tablets per year for the last four years.

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