1:1 Initiatives

Florida District Deploys 7,000 Netbooks

Pinellas County Schools of Largo, FL has announced it has deployed more than 7,000 Dell Latitude 2100 netbooks. Of these, 446 have been specifically allocated to the Melrose Elementary Center for Journalism and Multimedia, a K-5 magnet school. The Latitude 2100 is a netbook designed specifically with students' needs in mind.

In the past, the district, which leases its computers, has maintained a rotating cycle of replacing one-third of its units each year to keep its technology up to date and its computer infrastructure running smoothly. This year, however, the program fell victim to budget cuts. But, explained John Just, PCS assistant superintendent of MIS, "with the Dell 2100 netbook, we were able to maintain a 3-to-1 ratio of students to computers. Besides the cost savings and being able to provide the same amount of computers for less money due to budget cuts, the fact that it is designed for students is great."

The Melrose mobile journalism program will distribute each of its students a netbook in order to learn and hone writing and journalistic research skills, as well as 21st- century skills such as critical thinking and working collaboratively. The teachers will also use the computers to demonstrate how important and integral technology has become to all communications fields.

Just also noted the value of the Latitude 2100's special design for students, citing its rubberized protective case, easy-to-use keyboard with antimicrobial protection, and optional Dell Mobile Computing Station for multiple charging options and easy network updating.

PCS serves the entire St. Petersburg/Clearwater metropolitan area, including Largo, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, and Gulfport, enrolling more than 105,000 students in grades preK through 12 and employing more than 17,400 educators and staff.

About the Author

Scott Aronowitz is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas. He has covered the technology, advertising, and entertainment sectors for seven years. He can be reached here.