A school in Kent is to give 1,400 pupils an iPad 2 at the start of the academic year in September, in a move that underlines just how pervasive Apple's market leading device has become.
The project was set in motion in April, but came to light after a local reporter heard from the parents of a pupil at the Longfield Academy that the programme was going ahead.
It was organised in conjunction with education charity e-Learning, which will provide a grant to cover part of the cost, the rest made up by voluntary donations from parents.
V3.co.uk spoke to the chief executive of the charity, Valerie Thompson, who explained that providing children with technology such as the iPad 2 has numerous benefits.
"Using technology is something children relate to and enjoy. It helps them get better grades, to increase their attention span and means they can access all sort of resources through dedicated applications on the iTunes store," she said.
"Parents aren't being forced to buy the iPad; it's up to them to make a donation and most have been very impressed by the project and keen to contribute. Those that can't afford to do so, though, will be able to have the cost covered by the school and ourselves."
Of course, having 1,400 pupils running around wanting internet access could well put a severe strain on the school's Wi-Fi network, something also noted by Roger Hockaday, marketing director at wireless networking firm Aruba Networks.
"It will be interesting to see how this develops, and I suspect many other institutions will be keeping a close eye on the rollout at Longfield Academy over the next few months," he said.
"However, before taking the decision to follow in Longfield Academy's footsteps, it is important to recognise that iPads run bandwidth-hungry multimedia applications in a way that laptops simply do not."
While many will be unconvinced by the project, wanting pupils to use stuffy, musty old textbooks full of long, impenetrable text, it's an indication that even the simple back to school check list is becoming more hi-tech. Shoes, check. Pencil case, check. IPad 2, check.
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