Laptops for Gadsden Eighth Graders

Gadsden County has just landed a big fish, a really big fish just shy of one million dollars to fund new technology in its schools, and students will get a chunk of that grant to literally take home. Next fall every eighth grader will be assigned his or her own brand new laptop computer.

When these students start eighth grade next year, along with their textbooks they'll be given their very own lap top computer.

The iBooks cost about $1,000 a piece, but with help from TCC and Apple, Gadsden County schools will buy 527 of them, one for every eighth grader.

Carla Galvin, an eighth grade teacher, said, "It's amazing. I'm ecstatic about it. It'll help bridge the gap in our achievement levels. We do writing, we do reading, we do language arts. It'll help with everything."

De'amber Price said, "I would have a place where I can type up my stories and save them and use what I learned in my computer applications class."

Poindexter Mathews will get laptop next year and added, "It'll help me with my research and everything, school projects and all that."

Gadsden County schools received the $900,000-plus grant from the Department of Education. It hopes this will improve students' technological savvy as well as the quality of the assignments, papers and projects they do.

Reginald James, Gadsden County School Superintendent, said, "It really means they can expand instruction beyond the four walls of the classroom. They have access to the entire world."

All the middle schools, West Gadsden, Havana and Quincy Shanks, will offer wireless Internet at hot spots on campus and students will be allowed to take the iBooks home as soon as they learn how to use them.

Parents will be glad to know each computer will have a filter to prevent students from accessing unsavory sites as well as a GPS chip to track the laptop's whereabouts.