TMCnet News

Technical support: Wellborn distributing laptop computer to students
[January 10, 2009]

Technical support: Wellborn distributing laptop computer to students

(The Anniston Star Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 10--Wellborn High is reaching out to seventh-graders to attack its poor graduation rate.

School leaders are currently distributing 75 Lenovo ThinkPads -- laptop computers with hard drives full of their textbooks, lesson plans and the ability to record notes digitally -- to the seventh-graders. The $100,000 project is funded through an Enhance Education Through Technology grant, a federal grant administered by the state, which aims to improve graduation rates.

Wellborn's graduation rate when the school applied for the grant was estimated for 72 percent in 2008 -- "the lowest graduation rate in our district," said Lisa Amerson, technology director for Calhoun County schools. "So they have the greatest need."

By stocking the 12- and 13-year-olds with sleek laptops -- technology many are using outside of class -- school leaders are hoping to peak their interest in school.

"They're already used to these tools before they even get to the school," Amerson said.

Amerson added that many dropouts decide by the seventh grade that they will drop out. Roughly 47 percent of them said classes were not interesting, while 35 percent said they dropped out because they were already failing, according to the study.

"They didn't see the value of the school and they were bored," she said. "They didn't see how that related to their work life or see who they could use it in their work life."

In only two days of using the computers, teachers are raving about results.

"Their interest levels are going up," said Melanie Griffis, who teaches math.

Students must pay $25 per semester to use the laptop. While it must be returned at the end of the school year, it is theirs to take home at night.

"My mom likes it," said Tymeria Mackey, 13. "My little brother likes it, too, but I won't let him mess with it."

Mackey said that, aside from the innovate technology, an added perk is not having to tote around heavy books all day.

Teachers will be able to monitor students during class to make sure they remain on task and are not surfing the Web or playing solitaire. Teachers will also be able to record lessons for students who are home sick, and e-mail the lesson to them.

"We're real pumped about it," said Principal Ed Whatley, adding that "this is a gift that very few children receive."

About Michael A. Bell

Michael Bell covers education and health for The Star. He is a graduate of University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

To see more of The Anniston Star or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

Copyright (c) 2009, The Anniston Star, Ala.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

[ Back To's Homepage ]