Lufkin ISD plans for digital textbooks in the future

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Lufkin Middle School students work out math problems on an interactive smart board.

"It helps me with my work that I need to do for different classes," Lufkin Middle School Student Lawton Menefee said.

Students are able to come in the Math 101 classroom and practice their math problems on the computer. The technology allows the teachers to reinforce what the students learn in their regular classrooms.

"They love going to the smart board, pushing the answers," Lufkin Middle School math teacher Kim Flores said. "It's like having a huge computer, only they're getting to touch the screen."

Apple recently launched their iTunes U. It's a fully integrated application that allows users to buy and download textbooks right to their iPads, something Lufkin ISD may consider in the near future.

"The benefit to us, when textbooks are electronic is we can download that and it becomes less expensive," Lufkin ISD Superintendent Roy Knight said.

Knight said he's issuing some students nearly $800 worth of textbooks each year, so upgrading to digital books would end up costing about the same.

"Our children today are bombarded with electronic images that are full of color and ideas and we're a long way from a chalkboard and that's healthy," Knight said. "It does indeed keep children engaged much longer."

The technologically advanced students at Lufkin Middle School agree, saying like the idea of an iPad.

"A textbook is heavier and an iPad is way lighter," Lufkin Middle School student Breossha Skinner said.

"The textbook is hard to copy stuff and all that and then if you use an iPad you can get it right off the page and stuff, off the Internet," Menefee said.

"I think that's almost like having a smart board in front of them and I've been teaching 26 years and I've kind of seen the progression through technology and it's nothing but good," Flores said.

However, with Lufkin taking $2.8 million in funding cuts from the state, school administrators say it may take a few years to make the digital move.

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