Granville school passes out laptops to every student

Posted August 11, 2010 6:51 p.m. EDT
Updated August 11, 2010 7:05 p.m. EDT

— More than 900 students attend South Granville High School, and this year, each of them will have his or her own laptop.

With financial help from private companies and Golden LEAF, an economic development foundation in Rocky Mount, Granville County Schools officials said they were able to spend "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on an effort to upgrade technology-based learning.

"We wanted to give every child in this high school, grades nine through 12, instant access to information when they needed it," said Vanessa Wrenn, the school district's director of instructional technology.

With the laptops, students will be able to podcast and communicate with anyone in the world through Skype, officials said. Students will not be able to use the computers for social networking sites, however.

"The old model of rows of desks and a teacher at the center of the classroom is really a way of the past," district spokesman Stan Winborne said.

Parents pay a $25 insurance fee for the laptops, and students are required to return the computers to the district once they graduate so they can be passed to other students.

"I think it's cool to get your own laptop for four years," student William Hunt said.

"Who doesn't want another computer in the house? That's great," said Cherie von Moos, whose daughter is starting her freshman year at South Granville High.

District officials said their goal is to expand the laptop program to every school in the district.