Carson City Schools See Improvement in Students Using New Laptop - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Carson City Schools See Improvement in Students Using New Laptops

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Grades, engagement and student achievement are all improving in the Carson City School District. Back in February Carson City schools handed out laptops to middle schoolers as part of a donation program to improve learning. A few months later we tracked the progress of the program to see how much the computers helped those students in the classroom.

On Wednesday students gave back the laptops to the Carson City School District before summer starts. About two weeks ago teachers were surveyed on the progress of students adapting to the new technology and in just the few months students used it, they saw a big jump in progress.

When the program started we talked with Mackenzie Wilson, a sixth grader at Carson Middle School when she got her first laptop. Fast forward to four months later, Mackenzie says it's not only cool to have this computer in class, but it's also helped with her learning substantially. "It was much better because you could go online, type and a lot of kids enjoyed it more than just writing pen and paper," said Mackenzie. In Mrs. Lenhares' Social Studies class we saw how students were using the new technology. The teacher put a question up and gave the students one source to find the answer, then let the students use their laptops to look up additional sources to get more information on the topic. Superintendent Richard Stokes says the computers have allowed children to become more involved in class discussions. "There's just tremendous engagement. Students are 100% involved in the lesson and using their devices in such a way that they'll be able to participate and have immediate feedback," said Stokes.

Teachers were surveyed a few weeks ago on how well the students have adapted to the new technology on a one to four point scale. In just a few months teachers saw an improvement. "We had a 2.2 so that was sometimes they would use the technology and it was increased to about a three," said LeAnn Morris. Students like Mackenzie also said she saw improvement in her grades since she starting using the computer to learn. "Some of my friends and stuff, they had really bad grades in the beginning of the year, but since we've been doing this - they've been getting higher grades," said Mackenzie.

It cost around $300,000 to start the laptop program for middle schoolers.  Most of that money was funded through the Community Foundation of Western Nevada, a group that works closely with Valerie Dockery,  the woman in charge of planning special projects." We need to give our students the tools that they're going to need this next 10 to 20 years. They're not going to be using as much paper and pencil," said Dockery.

The laptops will be re-issued to middle schoolers in the fall and will be used year-round. In addition 4,500 laptops will be given to elementary schoolers next year for grades three through five. The decision to expand laptops to high school students in Carson City will be made sometime next spring.

Written by Chloe Beardsley

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