Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Brandon High tech program issues take-home laptops

BRANDON — Twenty technology-savvy students at Brandon High School's Academy of Information Technology have take-home laptop computers for the school year. The laptop program, which started in January, could be an indication of what's to come in the future.

On a normal day at the information technology academy, Joshua Haley pops open his laptop and maybe types a few notes during class. He puts the Omega calculator that's on his computer to use graphing or computing a calculus or physics problem. After lunch, he might shoot an e-mail to one of his teachers to confirm the due date of a project.

Other tech students use their laptops to research a question during class, allowing them to have a deeper discussion with their teacher. Assignments for almost all of their subjects can be done on their laptops and uploaded on the school's server for access at school or home.

"Each student has his own space from the domain server," said Haley. "My laptop makes me efficient in all of my classes. I can do three-dimensional graphs, something my calculator just can't do."

Brandon's idea for take-home laptops was launched in 2006, when technology instructor Jean Gordon and other school officials visited Crooms Academy of Information Technology in Orlando. Crooms now has 600 laptops for their students. Students can access the Internet at many wireless hot spots in school and the laptops are integrated into every subject.

"By going to Crooms, we found out things that were helpful to get our program going, like the kind of computer cases we should order for our students and what kind of insurance we would need to cover them," Gordon said. "Results are the key — things that worked for them and things that didn't.

One upside of giving kids take-home laptops: the ability to bridge the gap for students who don't have a computer or Internet access at home. It also eliminates a time-honored excuse. There's no more forgetting a book at home or at school because many textbooks are available online.

So far, Brandon's technology academy is the only high school information technology academy in Hillsborough County and the only school in the county offering take-home laptops.

Terry Senhauser, a fourth-grade teacher at Nelson Elementary School in Dover, expects every student to eventually have a laptop to use in every class.

The school district's technology plan allocates $2.8-million a year for equipment replacement until 2010. The objective is to systematically replace old computers after six or seven years.

Whether the replacement computers are desktops or laptops is still up for discussion. The technology plan is updated every year, but there are no immediate plans for large-scale laptop purchases.

"Presently, it's not cost effective," district spokeswoman Linda Cobb said.

Recent efforts to switch to laptops are done with grants that the Brandon technology academy received or through partnerships like Crooms has with Dell.

"We're still independently exploring technology on our own. We need to work on formalizing technology into education," Gordon said.

Brandon High tech program issues take-home laptops 04/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 10:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays' Evan Longoria: "We have all the belief in the world in here"


    The weekend sweep by Texas and four-game overall losing streak has some Rays fans - based on their tweets and emails - questioning the team's ability to make the playoffs and suggesting they might as well trade away their key parts.

  2. FWC: Fish away for invasive lionfish


    Times staff

    What could be better than fishing and helping save the Gulf of Mexico?

    Add prizes.

    Lionfish, originally from the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are an invasive species in the Gulf of Mexico. [LARA CERRI  |  Times]
  3. Gerald McCoy cares too much about what you think of him

    The Heater

    Gerald McCoy is right. We are going to miss him when he's gone.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is one of 16 players to record at least five sacks in each of the past five seasons. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  4. Ronde Barber says comments about McCoy 'sensationalized'


    If anyone thinks Ronde Barber was throwing shade at Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, think again.

    "That anyone would assume I would say the best player on the defense isn’t a bad dude is irresponsible and sensationalizing a quote to serve their own means,'' Ronde Barber said.
  5. Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again


    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.

    Queena Phu of Tampa and prosecutor Rita Peters arrive at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday.
 Phu, 27, has endured a long road to recovery after suffering brain damage from a brutal attack that left her unable to walk, talk, see or eat on her own. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]