LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Students at area high schools could have their own laptop and the school district is footing the bill.
A presentation explained how during the Tippecanoe School Corporation (TSC) board of trustees work session Wednesday evening. The TSC hasn't been replacing desktop computers for the past two years, preparing for this transition of students having their own mobile computer to use at school.
Beginning in August, freshmen at Harrison and McCutcheon High Schools will have a computer to call their own, courtesy of the TSC.
"Students keep (the computing device) for their entire four years. They will take it home with them. If they have internet access at home, they will be able to access their files here at school," explained TSC director of Information Services Mike Watson.
With cuts made in the TSC, Watson said the funding is coming from his department's budget.
"We do this with our own budget by re-prioritizing and sacrificing to tell you the truth," Watson said. "We need to decide what's important for kids then we take and re-prioritize those funds to make this happen."
The TSC hasn't decided what device to use. Watson said laptops, tablet PCs and even iPads are being considered. All the TSC teachers have their own tablet PCs and every TSC school building now has wireless internet.
"We look at how these children learn and the kind of environment they need to be successful 21st century citizens," Watson said.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors don't need to be too jealous though. All students may have the opportunity to bring laptops to school for learning purposes.
Many TSC teachers are using the district's online system to turn in homework.
"Place an assignment in the drop box. Students can pull it down, work on the assignment and push it back up. The staff member can grade that using a tablet. There doesn't have to be any kind of paper transaction at all," explained TSC coordinator for Information Technology Services Jamie Ramos.
The district has a filter that doesn't allow computers to access certain websites. After four years when all high school students have a school issued laptop device, Watson said six to seven rooms will be freed up. He said those rooms are where computer labs are now and because eventually all high school students will have their own laptop, there won't be a need for many of the computer labs.
The TSC is still debating on whether to charge a small fee around $30 or an insurance deductible for the device. There is also a possibility of students using an electronic version of their textbooks.
The district is also adding laptops at the elementary and middle school levels, but there won't be one for each student.
Watson explained that in elementary schools, all classrooms will have up to six wireless laptops.
In middle schools there will be over 100 wireless laptops at each building and also wireless printers. Watson said he hopes eventually there will be one laptop for every two middle school students.
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