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Apple on Tuesday announced the iPad is further penetrating the education market, doubling sales of the company's portable MacBook line for the sector on strong sales of the reduced-price iPad 2.

During its third fiscal quarter earnings conference call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer revealed the three month period was the best ever for education iPad sales and nearly doubled in the K-12 market.

Driving the iPad's high education adoption rate was the cheaper iPad 2, a carry-over model priced at $399 targeted at entry-level consumers and students. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the legacy tablet sold nearly 1 million units to educational institutions during the second calendar quarter.

Overall, Apple sold some 17 million iPads during the quarter ending in June, up from 84 percent from 9.25 million during the same period one year ago. Institutions purchased two iPads for every Mac during the three months, signaling a shift away from traditional computing to more interactive touch-based learning.

"It's something I've never seen from any product in history," Cook said of the iPad's success in education. The Apple chief goes on to note that the K-12 market is generally conservative but the iPad is "not seeing any of that."

iPad in Education
Source: Apple

In describing the iPad's education potential, Oppenheimer gave an example of how schools are using the iPad in classroom mentioning that the Mansfield Texas Independant School District purchased 11,000 units slated to be used by teachers and students. MISD plans to rollout the tablets as part of its "Power Up!" initiative that aims to convert the traditional pen-and-paper learning environment to a completely paperless model.

Power Up
MISD's Power Up! initiative will use 11,000 iPads.
Source: MISD

According to the Power Up! website, over 200 high school teachers and administrators have registered for iPad deployment workshops as of July 6.

Apple announced that iTunes U saw over 14 million downloads during the quarter ending in June while the now-dedicated app added 700,000 new schools and 750 new courses.