County schools to get laptops

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

System to invest $100K year

Covington County Schools will pump $100,000 per year into a new technology initiative that will bring laptop access to the classroom for students.

Superintendent Shannon Driver said the board voted Monday night to purchase up to 250 laptop computers as a pilot for the long-range initiative.

“My recommendation is to start with the 10th grade and have a laptop computer for every kid in the classroom,” he said.

Driver said the goal of the initiative will be to give access to laptops for every student in grades three through 10th grade.

“We hope to get the laptops in the students’ hands by the end of January,” he said. “We will be incorporating it into the classroom for the second semester.”

Driver said the plan is to supply all the grades in the next three to five years.

“We will continue to add a set of laptops until we have one for each kid until we get to the elementary school,” he said.

Driver said the students would not be assigned the laptops to take home.

“They will use them in academic classrooms,” he said.

Driver said they were beginning in the upper grade levels because they typically have the fewest computers available.

“Our ultimate goal is to better equip our kids for jobs,” Driver said. “In most any job, they will have to operate some kind of computer program. We want to give our teachers the tools they need to better prepare our students for success.”

While other nearby school systems have implemented “1-to-1 initiatives,” where they supply iPads for their students, Driver said their goal is to better prepare students for careers.

“The iPad is a great tool for interactive learning,” he said. “We have a lot of these devices that our teachers already use in the classroom. They are using tablets extensively. We want to prepare our students for careers and most are built around computers.”

To prepare for the new initiative, the system just completed a $250,000 infrastructure upgrade.