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Survey Finds Henrico County Students Frequently Use iBooks

Survey Finds Henrico County Students Frequently Use iBooks

by , 12:05 AM EST, February 14th, 2005

Eighty-eight percent of Henrico County students who received iBooks as part of the county's four-year old laptop initiative bring their iBooks to school every day, a new study commissioned by the Henrico School Board found.

Additionally, 91 percent of the 20,409 students surveyed -- representing 80.5 percent of total students with iBooks -- use the iBooks at home, on average for 1.8 hours per week. Most teachers use the computers and support the laptop initiative as well, despite it increasing their workload.

The survey's results, published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch Friday, also found that 71 percent of parents support the program as well as the $50 fee they each pay per computer for insurance.

The four-year old program has cost the county $43.6 million, or $10.9 million a year, David Myers, Henrico County's Assistant Superintendent for Finance, told the School Board Thursday. Leasing the 26,000 iBooks has cost $26.5 million, with the remainder of the costs coming from network infrastructure, software, content filters, and support. Without the iBooks, the county would have spent $15.6 million over the four years to comply with state technology standards.

Virginia's Henrico County made headlines in 2001 when the school district announced that it would be providing students with 23,000 sleek new iBook G3 laptops. Henrico County expanded the program one year later to include sixth-grade students, on top of the seventh- and eighth-grade students who already had received their iBooks.

Last July, the school district turned down a one-time $5 million offer from Apple to upgrade the leased iBook G3 systems to newer iBooks, saying their current needs were being met by the original iBooks.

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