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Houghton Mifflin Releases iPad Algebra App

Education publisher launches its first iPad textbook.

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One of the world's largest K-12 textbook manufacturers has released its first high school textbook on the iPad.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt released an Algebra 1 app Thursday that combines textbook information with interactive content, which many hope will engage students. At $59.99, the app costs about the same as an algebra textbook, although students will need an iPad to use it. The company plans to release Geometry and Algebra 2 versions later this spring.

In California, 400 students are testing the app; early returns are favorable. About 90 percent of students who are using the iPad in the pilot program are at least "proficient" according to current math benchmarks, compared to just 60 percent of students in traditional classes.

"We are seeing a marked increase in student engagement and self-guided instruction with our California pilot students," Bethlam Forsa, an executive vice president for the company said in a statement. "Teachers and students are reporting that they prefer using the app over traditional content delivery methods."

The app has more than 400 video tutorials and step-by-step animations that walk them through equations and problems, and students are able to "write" on the iPad with their fingers.

More schools throughout the country are experimenting with iPads. This week, the school district in Auburn, Maine said it would buy 285 iPad 2 tablets for kindergarteners to use next fall at a cost of $200,000.

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