The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Technology

September 7, 2013

Gettysburg Teachers Getting Lessons on Laptops

Although there is "some anxiety" on the teaching side, Gettysburg Area High School staff and students are adapting to the school's new move to issue every student a laptop computer, officials said.

In June, the district's board of education approved the purchase of 500 Dell laptops at a total maximum price of $350,000 for the 24/7 initiative.

On their way to giving all students equal access to technology, the laptops were given to freshmen and sophomores in August for the 2013-14 school year.

For the 2014-15 school year, the district plans to distribute laptops to incoming freshmen, sophomores and juniors, Superintendent Larry Redding said, adding that seniors will use the laptops as needed.

When freshmen and sophomores carried their new laptops to school Aug. 21, teachers were expected to adapt the curriculum to the new technology.

But Gettysburg officials have heard teachers express concerns about including laptops in their lesson plans.

"The anxiety is coming from the fact that we had laptops in use for occasional instruction purposes and now it's changing," Larry Redding said.

Before the 24/7 initiative, students had only partial access to laptops. Some classrooms had laptop carts - carts that housed computers students could borrow while they were in class. Now, teachers must make the shift to use the new technology in every lesson, Redding said.

The district is helping teachers by having more after-school training sessions, he said.

On Tuesday, high school Principal Mark Blanchard presented an update on the 24/7 initiative to the board of Eeucation.

Despite one report of a broken laptop and some troubleshooting issues, Blanchard said both staff and students are responding well to the new technology.

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