California School District to Distribute Dell Computers in Program Aimed to Transcend Traditional Classroom Learning
Hacienda La Puente Unified School District near Los Angeles will issue Dell notebook computers to middle and high school students to boost student achievement and narrow the community’s digital divide. The district announced the program at a board meeting Thursday evening.
During the first phase of implementation set to begin this fall, fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students will receive Dell LatitudeTM D620 notebooks for use in classrooms and at home for four years. Once the program is fully implemented, students will receive a new notebook in ninth grade, with the option of using it in college or in the workplace after completing high school. Graduating high school seniors will have the option to purchase the notebook for $35 or, pending the school district’s future partnerships, students may be able to keep the notebook at no cost.
Once fifth-grade students enter eighth grade, their families will have the option to purchase the three-year old notebooks for $35. Students without Internet access at home will be provided with service paid for by Hacienda La Puente along with free access to the school district’s online learning community.
“The impact of this program will extend much further than just classroom learning,” said Michael Droe, chief technical officer for Hacienda La Puente. “Students can also bring their notebooks home, giving family members the opportunity to develop stronger technology skills and increase family involvement in the education process. We know that this program will make a positive impact in our community, and will play a significant role in decreasing the digital divide.”
Teachers in the district also will receive Dell notebooks and certified training on how to integrate the new technology into all areas of curriculum. Parents will be required to participate in technology orientation sessions with their child and 10 hours of training.
“In order for a one-to-one computing program like this to be successful, it is imperative that teachers are armed with the skills necessary to fully integrate technology into the curriculum,” said Mark Horan, vice president of Dell’s K-12 and state and local government business. “Parents also need to be involved in the process, receiving basic computing skills that enable them to help their children solve technology issues at home.”
The Dell notebooks will be distributed over four weekends in August at designated school gyms. The schedule calls for 1,900 Dell notebooks to be distributed in fall 2007 and another 2,000 in fall 2008. After the first two installments and based on current enrollment estimates, the school district projects about 1,600 notebooks will be acquired each year to accommodate incoming fifth-grade students and to provide updated notebooks for ninth graders.
A list of participating schools, associated grades levels and additional program details can be found at www.hlpusd.k12.ca.us/laptops.
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