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LaRue Schools are embracing technology

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By Ron Benningfield

Adhering to the adage, “Waste not, want not,” LaRue County Schools are finding uses for all of the laptop computers that have been replaced by new ones at LaRue County High School.

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Freddie Newby, chief information officer, said the district has 50 Dell Latitude E5410 laptops that were assigned to the high school staff. With the implementation of the second round of laptops, the middle and high school staff will be receiving replacement units.

“Instead of decommissioning the E5410s, we want to get as much out of our investment as possible,” Newby said. “Each unit has been given an in-depth assessment and has had any repairs needed made to them.”

Each elementary classroom at Hodgenville and Abraham Lincoln elementary schools has five student desktops and one lab of 30 desktops. Plans are for the labs at each school to stay as they are with 25 of the Latitude E5410s to be provided to each elementary as a mobile lab.

“Providing a laptop for every student at the high school has alleviated many instructional barriers that we had faced,” said Newby. “Supplying even more technology resources to our elementary grades offers unlimited instructional opportunities and better prepares our students for middle school, high school, and beyond.”

Karen Downs, ALES principal, said teachers will use these laptops in a variety of ways.

“We use several online programs that allow students to either work on skills for intervention or to enrich their knowledge,” she said.

She noted that teachers are always finding new and interesting things for students to access, which allows them to meet individual needs of the students.

“We also give a test four times a year from Discovery Education called the PAS (Predicative Assessment Skills) test that can be taken online,” she said.

Downs said the use of computers will help meet the new common core standards that call for 21st Century technology skills.

“One standard in fourth and fifth grade language arts states that students should be able to type a one-page paper at a sitting, so this is another area we will be addressing,” she said.

Students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade will have access to the computers, which, as addition to the existing lab, will allow more flexibility while putting additional technology into their hands.

Downs sees the biggest impact of the additional computers in their affording the opportunity for students to access materials that meet them academically where they are.

“It also prepares the students for middle school by having been exposed to technology before they receive one there,” she said.

Eric Hughes, Hodgenville Elementary principal, said that while many students have access to technology at home, some do not. The laptops will help bridge the gap that some students may have faced in the past.

“The addition of a mobile laptop unit into classrooms will allow teachers to enhance student engagement as well as modify and redefine tasks for specific lessons by giving teachers extra avenues for instruction,” Hughes said. “Also, access to specific programs allows teachers to meet the needs of students on an individual basis.”