Area Students Improve With Laptops

It’s smooth sailing for area students cruising on the information highway. The eighth and ninth graders are showing improvement with the help of free laptops.

Laptop computers were issued at the beginning of this school year, and these Taylor County students have hit the ground running, or should we say hit the keyboard typing?

Shayne Anderson, a ninth grader at Taylor County High School, said, "Our classroom assignments are on them. Instead of writing them, you can type it. We do Internet research on them to find things that you couldn't normally find in an encyclopedia, or look up maps, look up definitions instead of looking inside a dictionary."

Eleven small counties received the Florida Department of Education's enhancing education through technology grant earlier this year.

For just under a million dollars, Taylor County purchased 490 IBM Think Pads for every eighth and ninth grader.

Oscar M. Howard, Superintendent, said, "If we're going to be competitive when we leave Taylor County High School. We need to have every bag of tricks with us when we leave. The bag of tricks is the best education possible."

Now in the middle of the second nine weeks, teachers say they see better grades and class attendance.

Kelly Armstrong, a ninth grade American history teacher, said, "As far as programs on them, they're using them for word, word processing. It keeps the kids motivated. It's really more of a motivational tool than anything else."

Michael Rhodes, ninth grader, added, "It's easier on your hands. It's just easier."

Textbooks are programmed on the laptops. Students can take the note pads home to complete homework assignments.

Gadsden County held training sessions this Tuesday morning for parents of eighth graders who will get to take their laptops home in January.