By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Five hundred kids waited excitedly in line in Las Vegas last September – not to get a look at a casino but to pick up their new text books – iPads for Algebra 1 at Silverado High School.

More than a thousand middle and high school students were given this new approach to math – electronic interactive-text applications, developed by publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – not ebooks, but digital tools that can deliver personalized instruction.

If students miss classes, they tap into the video tutorials, anytime, anywhere. If they don’t understand a lesson, pushing a button again helps them learn. Previously only half passed the math section of the state exam and those who don’t pass by their senior year will fail to graduate.

While it’s too early to gauge gains, a smaller program was started last year in Riverside, CA, where scores jumped from 30% to 60% proficiency in math. Almost six months later, the Vegas kids are still excited.

Read more in Education Week.