California District To Roll Out Laptops for Teachers and Students
4/4/2007—This summer Hacienda La Puente Unified School District in California will begin the first phase of a new program supplying laptop computers to students in fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth grades. These students will be given Dell Latitude D620 notebooks for use for four years in classrooms and at home.
"The impact of this program will extend much further than just classroom learning," said Michael Droe, chief technical officer for Hacienda La Puente, in a prepared statement. "Students can also bring their notebooks home, giving family members the opportunity to develop stronger technology skills and increase family involvement in the education process. We know that this program will make a positive impact in our community, and will play a significant role in decreasing the digital divide."
As part of the plan, once the program is fully implemented, students will have the option of keeping the notebooks they'd been previously assigned. Students who received the notebooks in fifth grade will have the option of purchasing those notebooks once they're in eighth grade for $35. Students without Internet access at home will be provided free access by the district. After completing high school, students will also have the option of purchasing the notebooks they received in ninth grade for $35, though there is the possibility that they will be able to keep them for free.
Meanwhile, teachers at Hacienda La Puente will be receiving Dell notebooks as well and will be given certified training on integrating the laptops into the curriculum. Parents will be required to participate in technology orientation sessions and will take 10 hours of training.
The program officially begins in the fall, but the notebooks will be distributed in August. Nineteen hundred laptops will be distributed for the fall 2007 semester; 2,000 will be distributed for fall 2008. The district said it expects to purchase about 1,600 notebooks per year for incoming fifth graders and for ninth graders, whose notebooks will be updated.
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