DeSoto County students, teachers to receive laptops

DeSoto County students, teachers to receive laptops
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)

(WMC) - Soon every student in DeSoto County will have a laptop or an iPad to use at school.

Leaders say it will better prepare students for college.

Written homework may be a thing of the past. Cody Sanford learned he may soon be submitting it online.

"No more dogs eating the homework," Sanford joked.

Sanford starts high school this year, where all of his teachers get laptops for class. Next year, he and every other high school student in DeSoto County schools will get one too.

It's a part of a four year plan by the district. At its end, students from elementary to high schools will have laptops to help with schoolwork.

"We want to see kids researching on it. We want to see kids submitting work on it. We want to see kids communicating with teachers. We want to see homework help groups," said George Loper with DeSoto County Schools.

Loper believes the technology will make classrooms a lot like college – lectures, homework, and tests can be given online.

Shannon Eldridge has been teaching history and English at the high school level and says the programs can streamline the grading and feedback process after a test.

"They get instant feedback, an instant picture of what those kids did well on and what they did poorly on so they can re-teach. So it's a pretty important tool as far as that's concerned," Eldridge said.

That's good news for Sanford's parents keeping up with grades online.

"I like it. My parents will be able to yell at me faster," Sanford said.

Sanford told us he was fortunate enough to be able to use his father's laptop for most of his research and homework outside of school.

Many aren't as lucky. Nearly half of county student's are on free and reduced lunch, according to the district.

School leaders say many can't afford laptop or iPads.

"They may be doing that report that they couldn't do the night before because they couldn't get to the public library and didn't have Internet access," Loper told us.

The district stressed the laptops are not a teacher replacement. Instead, they are tools that will keep kids engaged.

Sanford's grandmother says a lot has changed since her days in class.

"That's all they look at whether it's their games or whatever. I think they'll take to it quicker than sitting down and reading a book," Carol Sanford said.

The district said they were able to find the money in the budget without raising taxes.

High School teachers start training on the technology this fall.

The district will be meeting with parents before rolling out the computers to high school students next school year.

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