Teachers old laptops to be re-purposed for student use


Rachel Lyon

Social studies teacher Laura Hartman works with her new laptop purchased by WCPSS as a part of a multi-year roll out of new technology. Hartman’s an all other teacher laptops will be re-purposed for student use.

Allyson Freeman, staff reporter

With technology becoming an increasingly important part of classrooms, schools are coming up with interesting ways to provide students with laptops in school.

The first phase of the Wake County Public School System’s (WCPSS) plan to provide 10 student devices to each classroom by 2017 will begin this year with new Lenovo L450 laptops provided to teachers and repurposing the old laptops for student use.

“It is our goal that technology will be integrated seamlessly into the classrooms.  That is impossible at this point without constant access to the technology,” media specialist Heather Fields said. “These laptops and future student device purchases will allow teachers the flexibility to integrate technology into their classes in an organic and even spontaneous way on a daily basis.”

The lack of laptops and the increasing necessity of the internet as a resource has pushed social studies teacher Hancel Phipps into abandoning laptops almost entirely in favor of letting students use their smartphones to help complete assignments, a problem that WCPSS’s plan could help mend.

“I think that technology and the internet are tools for education—tools that help students and teachers reach their objectives more efficiently and in a more engaging way.  The objectives have not changed, only the tools we use to reach those objectives,” Fields said.

Social studies teacher Laura Hartman said that the internet allowed for some of her students to explore topics that they are interested in in the short amount of time that they have and others to keep updated about current events that are useful in class.

Not only will the availability of having more technology benefit students while they are in school, but it will prepare them for their future.

“I am constantly looking for new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom because it is going to be a major part of our students life when they leave school,” Phipps said. “The more technology savvy our students become then they are prepared for a future where many of them will be doing jobs which have not even been thought about yet.”

But, as the need for and availability of more technology in school increases, so does the need for technology education.

“I think that especially at the high school level those students’ parents are not very tech savvy yet, so they’re not being taught at home.  That means that this tech education falls solely on teachers and media specialists,” Fields said.

Even with this step towards having more access to technology in school, more steps will have to be taken.

“It will absolutely become a necessity to allocate more budget money to technology in order to keep up with the ever changing technology options,” Fields said. “We are also hoping that WCPSS will continue to supplement our efforts with initiatives like this CIP Laptop initiative that provided new teacher laptops.”