Phenix City high schoolers get laptop with start of school

Phenix City student receive new tablets for the school year

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - Phenix City high schoolers are ditching textbooks for computers, as back to school classes began Thursday for students in the district.

For 1,300 at Central High School, entire classroom dynamics are changing as each student has the chance to use a Chrome Book laptop in class and at home. The technology expansion came with a more than half-million dollar price tag but is already reaping benefits school administrators say.

"We're able to push out all of the textbooks onto their Chrome Books so no more lugging around heavy book bags for our high school and CFA [Central Freshman Academy] students," said Phenix City Instructional Technology Specialist Tamara Sanders.

The optional Chrome Book program lets students use and take home a laptop for the school year, and will be used in classes from note taking, to textbook referencing.

Administrators call this a stepping stone to higher education.

"Having Chrome Books at this level gives our students a keyboard, kind of helps prepare them for college a little better," said Sanders.

Also, the Chrome Books help students who may not have access to a computer or internet at home. Last year, Phenix City added more than 1,000 hot spots across the district to help students stay connected in all learning spaces.

"In the education realm, the term is digital divide, and that is those who have the technology and those who don't have the technology, and a lot of times that line is at the poverty line," said Sanders.

The program is optional and comes with a $25 insurance fee. Administrators add that the rate of equipment damage is extremely low, and paying for a damaged textbook is often more expensive than repairing a damaged Chrome Book.

Copyright WTVM 2016. All rights reserved.