Edgecombe students 'more engaged,' thanks to laptops

Posted January 7, 2010

— In the digital age, high-tech learning seems only natural, but it’s not always available.

Thanks to a grant, funded in part by SAS and the Golden Leaf Foundation, Edgecombe County Public Schools now issues every high school student a laptop.

Edgecombe students 'more engaged' with laptops Edgecombe students 'more engaged' with laptops

Algebra lessons have a new look at Tarboro High School. From classroom activities to homework, problems in Joy Robinson's classroom are solved on laptop computers.

“You can get the kids to visualize the graphs and how things work mathematically,” she said.

It’s the same in classrooms throughout the high school, from history to biology. New technology means a new way of learning.

“We've seen the level of engagement increase tremendously. Students (are) more engaged, more involved with their learning,” said Edgecombe County Public Schools Superintendent Craig Witherspoon.

Scott Norville and other students say it makes a big difference in many classes.

“Just having that ability to go anywhere, anytime,” he said.

“English … no more books. They just give you the assignments on the Internet, and you can find the passages and the poems and anything else you need,” said student Kearra Brinson.

“The AP courses especially. There are tons of study tools that are available,” said student Sonia Carlos.

The computers put a different spin on traditional classrooms and allow students to take online classes not offered at their school.

“It’s opened up a lot of new things for our teachers and for our students,” said Principal Lisa Cook.

While the program is just one year old, Tarboro High School teachers said they are already seeing some early results.

“The first time we used it was last semester and our grades in math across the board were up, our EOC scores,” Robinson said.

They're looking forward to seeing the full results at the end of this year. The school system has checks and procedures in place for lost, damaged or misused laptops. School leaders say, so far, they've had no major problems.


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  • John Sawtooth Jan 7, 2010

    I wonder if the laptops have Ubuntu instead of Windows ? Because Ubuntu *is* education oriented, with educational applications, and isn't easy for students to damage with added stuff or accidental viruses.

  • moth Jan 7, 2010

    Redondo Beach California school system did this 4 years ago. The laptops were all busted by the end of the first year.They scrapped the program. A rather expensive lesson to learn.

  • wynnediii Jan 7, 2010

    I wonder if they also footed the bill for the software needed? Standard issue software wouldn't do what they are claiming.

  • whatelseisnew Jan 7, 2010

    First time I have seen a story where they finally have moved beyond the idiocy of just teaching word processing, spreadsheets and powerpoint. Computers can be a valuable tool when they are put to the proper use. by the way we all need to thank the smokers for again helping to pay for this.

  • colliedave Jan 7, 2010

    Most lilely they are working on the Facebook pages. Good teachers have engaged their students long before the days of the computer.

  • G-man Jan 7, 2010

    Maybe they should teach them how to count somones change back to them fitst.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Jan 7, 2010

    I think that kids need to be computer literate in this day and age, but somehow people managed to learn algebra since the Babylonian days without the use of a laptop. The same with literature, poetry, etc. these kids should still know what the inside of a library looks like.

  • noreplytome2 Jan 7, 2010

    Their math grades went up b/c the kids know there is a calculator on the laptop.... durkadurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    Put away the computers, and teach the kids critical thinking, current events, and how to do for themselves.

  • rmgirl Jan 7, 2010

    This is a farce. I have a child in this system who has a laptop and friends who teach there. There is no technical support and the computers are down for extended periods of time. STOP glorifying wasted effort and tell the real story.

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Jan 7, 2010

    “The first time we used it was last semester and our grades in math across the board were up, our EOC scores,”

    That's because they teach to pass the EOC tests, however, real life does not have EOC tests so this is just making things look good when the reality is not.