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West Central Students Get Laptops

August 17, 2010, 6:06 PM by Kealey Bultena

West Central Students Get Laptops
HARTFORD, SD - Every school district uses some kind of technology to help students learn. West Central is starting this year by providing every student with a laptop computer.

"It's on the cusp of being widespread,” West Central’s High School Principal Mark Hofer said.

Students at West Central are at school even though class doesn't start until Monday. They're here to pick up their own laptop computers.

The line stretched all the way down the hallway at West Central High School, and by the end of the day, more than 400 students will have laptops in their hands.

"Last year, we didn't have computers to go around.  We couldn't work on our projects in class. This year, we'll all have our own computer. We can do our projects in class, get our work done," West Central Senior Tyler Stolsmark said.

The school district found room in its budget to buy a computer for every high school student, which they'll use in and out of the classroom.

"It's a necessary tool for kids to succeed in education now. We're just trying to equip them a little earlier to succeed a little earlier," Hofer said.

But the new technology also means a new way of learning.

"Our classroom's going to be based on technology this year. It's a little bit different. We haven't used Mac before. It's going to be a little difficult using the different applications," Stolsmark said.

Educators say the transition from notebook to Macbook will help students excel.

"Whether it's a Mac or a PC, that's not the point. It's getting equipment in the students' hands to help them learn," Hofer said.

That's especially important for those who don't remember life without these tools.

"We use technology every day. We grew up with it. This is what we were born into. It's not anything new to us, so I think it's good that we're having it in the classroom finally," Stolsmark said.

With a laptop in hand, each student is ready to start this semester tech-savvy.

West Central spent about $500,000 on the laptops and updating the infrastructure to support the new computers. They'll use these laptops for at least four years.

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