Teacher Ethan Simonson works with student Matthew Luck on an assignment.
Teacher Ethan Simonson works with student Matthew Luck on an assignment.
From the Lanesboro School

Lanesboro High School students came to the first day of school this year with the usual notebooks, pens, pencils, and backpacks. However, by the time they left on the first day they were carrying another learning tool.

The Lanesboro High School is implementing a one-to-one laptop initiative this year. The students are being assigned a netbook computer just as they would check out a textbook to use for the year. The program has been in the idea and planning stage for some time. Several advantages come with the equality of access and mobility.

With this initiative, all students in grades nine to 12 will have access to the same software and computers, which will make it easier for teachers to include the use of technology in their lessons. Students should no longer have to worry about their computer program at home being incompatible with the one at school. During the first week some classes had already begun turning in papers electronically.

The computer that was placed in the hands of students is a tablet netbook. The students can write directly on the screen, as well as input information directly through the keypad. This allows the computers to be used in even more classes, such as art, math, and science where the content may not be easy to enter with a normal keypad. While convenience and excitement are very evident, it was not the reason to make this change.

While computers used to be something that made work easier, they are now a necessity for colleges and employers. While the state has flirted with making at least one online course a requirement for graduation from high school, it is apparent that colleges will certainly be using a digital platform. What better way to prepare our students than through experience? Test scores are another reason cited by some for going to one-to-one computing. While Lanesboro certainly strives to increase student performance on a continual basis, it is the access and equality of the learning platform that the school believes will bring the most benefits. This is just the beginning.

The initial cost for the initiative is certainly a commitment for the school district. The ongoing costs will be much more reasonable. The dollars spent on new computers for the freshmen next year will most likely replace dollars that would be spent on updating a lab that is no longer needed as a result of this program. There have been some glitches, but the most patient people in the building are the students. They haven't seemed shaken when problems have arisen in the initial weeks.

Future goals? A couple of the more obvious goals would be nice to begin moving away from heavy backpacks and the need to use so much paper. Steps are being taken to move that way but it will not happen overnight. Some goals are yet to be determined. Teachers have embraced the new move with technology, and students have responded very positively with the added responsibility of carrying a computer with them.