A thousand new laptops – that’s the purchase approved by an 8 to 1 vote at the Hastings School Board Monday night.
“We just think that the time has come to make the decision to put laptop computers in the hands of both our teachers and our high school students,” says school board president Jessica Meeske.
The results of a pilot program the high school has been running since spring 2012 have been positive, according to school officials. Math teacher Kirk Ortegren says it’s made an impact in his classes.
“The benefit of it is that the kids are more excited about doing it. They're used to the technology, they're used to seeing the information presented that way. It allows them to go at their own pace, when they're watching a video or doing online practice, it's something that they can repeat and do again very easily,” Ortegren says.
He says it would also help give every student the same opportunities.
“Right now technology is such a wonderful force to educate these kids, but we really have kids who aren't on the same level because of their backgrounds as far as what they have for technology at home. And this would be a really big step in leveling the playing field,” says Ortegren.
And school board officials say the laptops could have long-lasting benefits for the students.
“Every job and college opportunity that our kids are going to have in the future is going to require them to use a computer, and in multiple ways,” Meeske says.
School officials say the purchase won't affect the school district's budget, as they will only be re-purposing technology funds.
Hastings students can expect to have the laptops as early as next month, according to Meeske.