Outfitted with individual personal computers, students in the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical School District are taking technology to the next level in classrooms, workshops, and laboratories.
One thousand computers were issued to students enrolled in the two centers at the beginning of the school year to use in class and at home. On Dec. 17, a quartet of juniors, along with two instructors, updated Eastland-Fairfield school board members on the laptop program.
"This prepares students very well for the challenges of a professional world," said Reynoldsburg student Scott Lister. "It helps keep students more organized and up-to-date on current activities."
According to presenter Darryl Smith, students can tap into the Internet anywhere on campus, take notes on their laptops, quickly access data, and share information with instructors and fellow students. Smith said they are able to use virtual simulators in labs via their computers and access similar projects at home.
"With the laptop program, you can complete assignments anytime," added Brandon McCandish.
Computer Support Technology instructor Ty James said teachers can keep a record of student progress whether they are working at school or home on exams, notes, research, or writing assignments. Previously, students were limited to access in computer labs. Today, the lab moves along with the student from class to class and school to home.
"Kids are going to use computers like we use telephones," said board member Greg Eyerman.
The laptops afford students the flexibility to access primary source material and keep abreast of the world at large. During the election, students were able to watch news reports on a daily basis and discuss results as soon as they were released through the media.
Parent Tim Lister praised the program, "The laptop has really opened things up for him (his son, Scott). He now enjoys doing his homework. The whole laptop program has made school so much more exciting for him."
Instructor Matt Stein said students have grown up with computers and the Internet, so it is a comfortable for them and a part of everyday life.
"I can post a question online and it becomes a threaded blog," said Stein. "Students then comment with their own opinion and comment on other students’ opinions. They can enjoy virtual field trips and go wherever Google Earth will take you. It’s about as close as you can get without going there. You can literally click on a street view and get an idea of what something looks like from street level. A lot of our teachers are really on board with technology. We’re very lucky to have building administrators who support us."
In other discussion, the board bid farewell to two outgoing members, Clyde Montgomery, Fairfield County, and Richard Helsel, Franklin County. Montgomery served multiple years on the board and was lauded for his leadership in Phase VIII of the district’s building and renovation plan by serving as chairman of the facilities committee. Helsel was praised for his nearly 20 year tenure and his leadership throughout numerous construction phases.