A total of about 1,400 iPads are heading to schools in Madison, Wisconsin during 2012, indirectly paid for by none other than Microsoft.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that the school district is acquiring iPads as they are less expensive, easier to use, and more portable than the usual computers purchased for educational use. Bill Smojver, the director of technical services for the Madison School District, referred to Apple's recent educational announcements about iBooks Author, iBooks 2, and digital textbooks as a "significant development."
Deputy superintendent of schools Sue Abplanalp said that Madison administrators found that students using tablets were more engaged in the classroom, as evidenced by a demonstration they witnessed in the Chicago Public Schools.
The school district will get the iPads through a traditional Apple educational discount for about $479 each, with the final tab being paid for with part of a nearly US$80 million settlement between Microsoft and the state of Wisconsin. That 2009 settlement was the end result of a lawsuit that alleged that Microsoft cheated consumers by overpricing its software for years.