Love it or hate it, technology is part of everyday life now and for the first time in Calcasieu Parish, a high school is issuing tablet laptop computers to each and every student to take home.
School starts Wednesday for St. Louis High students, but they're in class training on new tablet laptops they'll keep with them 24/7. Each student gets a school-owned tablet laptop computer to use at school and at home.
St. Louis President Deborah Frank says it's to better prepare them for college and life. " It will make them very proficient in the use of technology which they live with every day and it involves online, real time, interactive learning for our students,"said Frank.
The students will take notes on their tablets, learn to organize information in digital notebooks, collaborate with teachers and classmates and more. English teacher and trainer Claudia Brunot says students will use a variety of programs. "One note is an organizational tool. So, it's pretty much a digital backpack. They keep notebooks, digitally where they had binders with dividers and loose leaf pages, all on the computer. So, they have access to it anywhere they go. The Moodle program allows them to submit assignments online from home," said Brunot. She says they will also use a program called Dyno that is an interactive teaching tool.
The note taking program can even transcribe students handwritten notes. Students think the computers will help with school work and make it more interesting and fun. Said Freshman Hannah Schwartzenburg, "We're using One Note and I think it saves a lot of paper and time and writing of notes and it's going to be very good."
Zachary Richard is also a freshman. "It's easier because I don't like to write as much because sometimes your hand hurts. Here you just type and it will just save it for you. It's really fun, something new to try," said Richard.
Frank says they will also have a computer electronics class to teach some students how to fix and maintain the computers. "They will actually learn how to take the laptops apart to repair them and to eventually provide the Fujitsu warranty service on the tablets. So that's pretty exciting," said Frank.
Eventually school officials expect the use of textbooks to diminish almost entirely since they say the most current and relevant information is at students fingertips on the Internet and now with them wherever they have their tablet laptop.
Frank says they are collaborating with McNeese State University which will study the program and its progress, since only a few schools in the state have such a program.