BRISTOL, Tenn. - Students at Tennessee High School got new backpacks Wednesday morning, and what's in them made them a little bit heavier: laptops that everyone picked up.
It's part of "The Digital Conversion." Last year, students at Vance Middle School got laptops for half of the academic year. Wednesday, students at Tennessee High picked up their new gadgets.
Teachers worked for the past year on ways to use the laptops educationally. iPads were looked at for students, but school leaders chose laptops because they will "allow students to create things."
News 5 talked to Gary Lilly, director of schools, and he says students can be even more engaged in learning now. "In the past, students have been able to learn varying amounts based on how long the schedule lasts, but with this, it kind of makes learning the constant and time the variable," he says.
Students can take the laptops home with them to learn anytime, anywhere, in the new backpacks they came in.
We talked to two students about what they think of the new technology. Kauhlil King, a senior, says, "In a way, I thought it would be bad because we're always into technology. Like my phone, sometimes I can't get off of it, but at the same time, I won't have to sneak a peek at my phone when I need Google or something, so it's a great source to look up and get information."
Wesley Burleson, also a senior, says, "I think that everyone will have an equal opportunity for those who didn't have a laptop before, but I guess there's just a lot of technology now. So now I have another thing to take care of, but I guess that everyone has it, so it's a good thing."
Lilly says this is more of a curriculum initiative than a technology initiative, and he also mentioned there are controls on the laptops, so distraction shouldn't be an issue.
There is a $50 usage fee for the laptops, and Lilly says there is financial assistance available for students or families that can't afford them.