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PBS NewsHour: North Carolina School Engages Tech Generation With Digital Learning Tools

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April 12, 2011 07:08 pm

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Last Friday PBS Newshour aired a segment on Mooresville school district in North Carolina and how it has turned almost completely digital. Mark Edwards, the Mooresville Schools Superintendent, explains, “There is a disconnect for a lot of kids when in their world, they are seeing a whole array of technology, and it might be with games, or it might be with music, or it might be with a variety of things in their home, and they go to school and it’s like going back in time.”

The school district has given every teacher as well as every student in fourth grade through high school a laptop as well as made several other investments in technology including ongoing teacher training and help desks in each school. So far, the results have included gains in content areas across the board, higher graduation rates, and dramatic drops in the number of student suspensions.

According to Superintendent Edwards the cost is about $200 per student a year but much of that money comes back and they have experienced savings in textbooks, print costs, and paper costs. When interviewer John Tulenko asked, “Do you buy textbooks anymore?” Superintendent Edwards responded, “I will quote our high school principal, ‘divorce proceedings are underway.’”

During the segment, teachers in Mooresville explain how they use technology to engage students and offer more creativity in assignments and the middle school principal discusses how they address the challenge of keeping students on task.

“For years we would tell students we are going to prepare you for your future but their experience in school didn’t have much to do,” said Superintendent Edwards. “I’d say that would be the same to telling a student, we are going to prepare you to drive a car so get on this horse and the kids say ‘but that doesn’t make sense, I’m not going to be riding a horse.’ And so a lot of kids in school said let’s get off that horse.”

Click on the video below, to watch the full segment:

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

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