The days of students lugging around massive backpacks loaded with heavy textbooks are numbered. According to a new poll of educational IT directors, signs are strong that within the next five years, all U.S. schools could adopt tablets, many as a replacement for textbooks. The good news for Apple is that in education circles (as with most consumers) the only tablet worth considering is the iPad.   All 25 educational IT directors surveyed by institutional securities firm Piper Jaffray said they were using iPads. In fact, according to analyst Gene Munster, not a single school reported employees using Android-based tablets. Although the Android absence may be due to the relatively low number of competitive products, the results give the Cupertino, Calif. company a “first mover advantage,” says Munster. The iPad is preferred over computers in the classroom because the tablet provides what IT experts see as more individualized learning. Although classroom computers are now shared among an average of 10 students, iPads allow the student pool to shrink to roughly six per tablet, the survey found. Apple’s departing head of retail, Ron Johnson, has said today’s students could be “the last generation with backpacks.” Earlier this year, Georgia State Senator Tommie Williams proposed replacing printed textbooks with iPad versions for middle school classes. The politician even met with the tech giant to talk over his plan.

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