Back To School

Posted on 8/9/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

The 2011-12 school year is about to begin. The use of printed books is declining. Many school systems will expand their use of computer and iPads this school year. Beginning in kindergarten children will be taught using digital devices.

The Henrico County Public School system (Richmond,Virginia) will be putting 4 iPads in each kindergarten and first-grade classroom countywide. Currently each of these classrooms has 5 laptop computers. When the iPads are added the laptops will be reduced to two per classroom. The extra laptops will be placed on “Computers on Wheels” carts so a larger number of computers can be delivered to any classroom on an as needed basis. Currently, the county already provides around 26,000 laptops for middle and high school students

All 1750 students at Lake Minneola High School in Florida will receive a brand new iPad pre-loaded with digital textbooks and several educational apps when they arrive for the first day of school. The iPads will be locked making it impossible for the students to load unapproved apps on them. However, the students will be allowed to use their iPads at home as well as in school. A proposal being floated in Florida could require all school districts to spend half of their textbook budgets on electronic textbooks by 2013-14.

The Webb School in Knoxville, TN will require that all students from 4th to 12 grades have their own iPad, or access to one. If a child doesn't actuall own an iPad the school will lease him or her one via a three year lease scheme costing approximately $200 per year. Elli Shellist, the school's English teacher said, "Once I explored it, I was really excited because there are things we can do better with this than we can with a paper text."

Last year, eighth-grade teacher Jeannetta Mitchell used iPads to teach algebra at the Presidio Middle School in San Francisco. She said, “I can’t imagine that there won’t be a time that all textbooks will be on tablets.”

In 2009, then Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, began the state’s Free Digital Textbook Initiative which aims to phase out traditional textbooks.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt offers its FUSE Algebra 1 and Geometry Apps . The company took its updated Holt McDougal Algebra 1 textbook and re-imagined it as an iPad app which they call HMH Fuse Algebra 1. This app includes exactly the same content (including images) as the 950-page book, but it also contains over 400 video tutorials, quizzes to test student skills and provide immediate feedback before they begin a chapter, a scratch pad for calculations, tools for graphing and ongoing assessments with results sent back to the teacher. Readers can view a free chapter. The price of the full app is $59.99 while the hardcover book without all the extras sells for $88.53 on Amazon. Some argue that iPads, or other tablets, will be too expensive for schools to provide, but when you consider that most students use 5 or 6 textbooks a year, plus supplemental materials and that the iPad can be used for several years the overall costs are likely to be similar.

Pearson has a curriculum called Success Maker. They also offer some free apps called SuccessMaker Speed Games designed as fun skill builders for grades 1 through 6. Take a look here. This link offers a partial list of available apps for high school level study.

For a partial list of over 100 school systems that are using the iPad and educational apps to some degree see It is important to note that this list is nowhere near complete. None of the school systems I’ve named above happen to be included on this list. For additional statistic about computer use in schools check out this census information.

Why Should Photographers Care?

When licensing rights for use of images for educational purposes photographers should insure that the fee is based on the number of times the product will be sold, licensed for use, or the number of unique users of the product. If the publisher is unwilling to supply that information, or track usage, remember that there are over 55 million elementary and high school students in the U.S. alone.

Right now there is a shortage of images showing students using iPads in an educational environment. The demand for this type of imagery is sure to grow.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Mary kate Denny Posted Aug 10, 2011
    Thank you for the research. This information is valuable for editorial photographers. It alone is worth the subscription to Selling Stock. MKD

  • John T Fowler Posted Aug 13, 2011
    Most interesting Jim, Thanks. Any guidance on how one "insures the fee is based . . . ."? Any references to stock agencies, etc who may have worked out something to achieve this?

    John Fowler

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