When sixth-graders at Carson Middle School receive their laptops today, it will complete the rollout to every middle-schooler in the Carson City School District.
“There’s definitely a sense of excitement,” said LeAnn Morris, the district’s technology integration specialist. “You can see the excitement on their faces.”
The computers were distributed last week at Eagle Valley Middle School and this week at Carson Middle School.
Daniel Vines, 12, received his Thursday, along with his fellow seventh-graders.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We will be able to do stuff at home instead of having to wait until you get to school or to a computer.”
Students will be able to connect to their wireless Internet service or used the broadband cards installed in each device. Filters will limit the sites they can access and who they can email.
“They’re really anywhere, anytime devices,” Morris said. “The students can access the Internet wherever they are. It really narrows that digital equity gap. Everybody has the same tools to learn with now.”
The One-to-One Digital program was established as one of the district’s priorities in the strategic plan developed last year with help from the community. A grant from the Community Foundation of Western Nevada will fund the distribution of mobile devices to all students in the district.
Ananda Campbell, the district’s lead librarian, organized the method of checking out the devices, similar to checking out a library book. She came up with the plan after talking to librarians throughout the country who organized similar rollouts.
“I think it’s been amazing, almost no hiccups,” she said. “It’s because we have so much support. Every school in the district is sending representatives here.”
Those representatives, she said, will take what they learned back to their own schools when the program is rolled out there. Third- through fifth-graders will receive theirs in the fall and high-schoolers in the spring of 2015.
Once students receive their laptops, technology specialist visit their classrooms to help them set up passwords and learn how to set up Wi-Fi access.
Despite the training, some students said, it will take some time to get used to them.
“I think the idea of them is good,” said Adam Larkin, 13. “They’re just kind of hard to carry around. I’m constantly nervous someone’s going to smash me up against a wall and break it.”
Teachers are also receiving training on instructing with the devices. They will have three days of professional development, along with seven-and-a-half additional hours outside of the classroom.
After months of preparation, Morris said, the distribution has gone well.
“Just seamlessly,” she said.