Laptops replace textbooks

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Traditional textbooks in freshman classes at United Local High School sit on the shelves, not on students’ desks.

They were replaced at the beginning of the new school year with laptop computers.

“The research shows that today’s students are what they call ‘digital natives,’” said school principal William Young. “They’ve had technology around them since they were born.”

The school started the laptop program for the class of 2017. Each freshman student will use the laptop throughout the school year.

Each student and their parents signed a policy and agreement form and the laptops will be returned at the end of the year.

To pay for the program, the district redirected money used for books and classroom computers. Each student also must pay a $20 technology fee.

“I was pretty excited to be the first ones to try it since nobody else had it,” said freshman Brooke Hofmeister.

The district will continue to supply laptops to each freshman class for the next four years until every student in the entire school has their own. The laptops will be equipped with electronic, web-based textbooks.

“I was excited because I don’t have to carry those books,” said freshman Daniel Harvey. “I can just carry my laptop and I don’t have to keep going back to my locker.”

Administrators and teachers believe the access to this technology will help them prepare for college and life beyond the classroom. It also helps fulfill state requirements.

“We’re preparing them for the new state assessments,” Young said. “Those will be online starting next year. So kids need to be comfortable taking their assessments online.”

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