Orange County schools ditching backpacks for laptops

Posted August 24, 2012

— Orange County Schools are ditching the heavy backpacks and going digital this school year by giving every sixth- through 12th-grader a laptop to use in class.

The state was going to give the district $15 per student for textbooks this year, so administrators decided to invest in computers. A quarter-cent sales tax helped pay the $2.6 million bill for more than 4,000 Lenovo laptops.

“(The) fully interactive digital textbook, which when we cost it out over five years, is significantly less than buying textbooks,” said Superintendent Patrick Rhodes.

Students will receive their laptops within a couple of weeks and will use them in class.

“This is their world. In a lot of ways, they're more ready than we are,” said Jeffrey Faulkner, an eighth-grade science teacher at C.W. Stanford Middle School in Hillsborough.

English teacher Michele Johnson says her sixth-grade students had a chance to use laptops in her class earlier this year.

“Students who were somewhat apathetic were instantly engaged. This is their life outside of school for a lot of kids,” she said.

Orange County school officials say only three other school systems in the state have similar laptop programs. They're also working on plans to provide students with low-cost Internet connections.


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  • dennis8 Aug 24, 2012

    We as parents are financially liable for the computers. We also had to pay $25 to get them. Might work, might not. I am more concerned about how the curriculum will be integrated well to use these.

  • superman Aug 24, 2012

    They will be lucky to be able to use them for 2 years. Had computers for a long long time starting with an Atari. They dont know much about computers if they think students going to take care of them and that they will last for 5 years. They just blowing smoke when they say they will use them for 5 years. I am a computer freak-- I have 5 deskstops and a laptop. Bought each of my 3 grandchildren a laptop. Computers dont like liquids spilled on them or being dropped. They will be very sorry before this is all over unless they have some way of having the parents to pay for the computer when the student breaks it and that is just not likely. Parents should be required to pay for their childs computer if they are required at school. Public education is no different than public welfare. You getting tax money.

  • mmtlash Aug 24, 2012

    go Hillsborough!

  • YouGottaBeKiddingMe Aug 24, 2012

    Four Oaks Elementary in Johnston County is issuing iPads to 3rd graders.

  • NiceNSmooth Aug 24, 2012

    wow... Orange county gets laptops... but wake only gets a "sea change"