KCPS bringing students into digital age with individual laptops - KCTV5

KCPS bringing students into digital age with individual laptops

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The Kansas City Public School District is waiting for its first order of laptops to arrive.

It announced earlier this summer that every student in the district will get a laptop computer this school year, but not all educators think the move will help kids learn.

The first bunch of laptops will be handed out to students sometime late this month or early September.

For some Kansas City Public School students one computer class may be the only time spent typing away because many don't have computers in their homes.

"It's really about how much time do we have to keep our children out of the 21st century if they are going to be globally competitive," said KCPS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green.

To change that, the school district is giving each student a laptop this year. That's 17,000 high school, middle school and elementary students.

Green said it's a chance for the kids to get familiar with technology and prepare for the Measures of Academic Progress or MAP assessment which will be computerized in 2015.

"When you're dealing with a high-stakes, time-sensitive test, often times it depends on how skillful you are with the computer," Green said.

Other districts see the importance too. Liberty Schools had a little fun with the empty boxes after it recently gave MacBook Air laptops to all high school students. Last year North Kansas City placed laptops into the hands of high school kids and even fitted its buses with wireless internet.

Lee's Summit Schools are looking into it.

"Our goal is to put as many of these Chrome Book labs in our schools as possible and we are continuing to evaluate what's the best approach to technology access," said Dr. David McGehee, the superintendent of the Lee's Summit School District.

Shawnee Mission Public Schools is one district that won't issue the gadgets.

"I could never say to the community here, 'OK if we put this technology here, student achievement is going to increase.' There isn't a correlation," said the district's superintendent, Dr. Jim Hinson.

Green, on the other hand, said results in other schools show there will be success.

"Those places that we studied, went to visit, testified that they felt that their movement toward a digital curriculum and access gave them a leg up on those things that we measure - attendance, graduation rate and student performance on test scores," he said.

Kansas City Public School is leasing the devices and loading them with educational software. The cost is about $400 per student, per year. It hasn't been decided yet if the devices will be take home or for in school purposes only.

Officials said the first schools to get them will be Lincoln College Prep Academy, James Elementary and George Washington Carver Elementary.

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