BRISTOL, Va. - The days of just having some pencils and paper to get your children started for the school year are long gone.
Sometimes it means buying a laptop for your student but some school systems are making laptops available for them. Bristol, Virginia has begun the process of making laptops available for all of their sixth graders.
Students and parents stand in line at the Bristol, Virginia Middle School library to check out not books, but laptops for their students. The school system has purchased 175 of them at $605 a piece. "Our textbook account money we used to fun the majority of this project. We're not the first school around or even in the state to go through this process. Some schools have been in this process for 10 or 12 years," Principal Bo Love says.
That process isn't just handing the kids computers and saying, 'see you Monday.' "Our fist station this morning was to inform our parents about what our computer use policy is. Both parents and students had to sign and agree to the policy," Principal Love said.
We learned that there was an ethics and internet safety course for both parent and student. some parents were a little skeptical. "It's good because they've got the power of the internet to be able to get everything that they need, information and everything. But it takes away from reading, like in the encyclopedia and getting their information that way. Making them think a little bit harder instead of having it the push of a button," parent Melissa Garrett said.
The students were excited to begin using their laptops as not just game console, but a learning tool. "There's a gain in experience here. All the kids can learn from it. They can read books on it, they can get help from it and they can search what they need to research," sixth grader Christoper Burchfield says.
"I think it will be good for us to like for us to learn how to type and learn how to the stuff on the internet responsibly and some things I believe we shouldn't do on the computers," sixth grader Kylie Garrett adds.
Just like textbooks, they're another tool for learning.