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All High School Freshmen In Fort Collins Get New Laptops

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Students at Poudre High School test out their new laptops (credit: CBS)

Students at Poudre High School test out their new laptops (credit: CBS)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – High school freshmen in Fort Collins have a new tool at their disposal as every single 9th grader will be given a laptop to use for the next four years — 2,000 laptops in all.

CBS4’s Mike Hooker was on hand as the first 500 of the laptops were checked out to ninth graders at Poudre High School.

Student Kylie Post-Williamson says she’s never had a computer at home even though many teachers assign homework that requires the Internet, or at least a word processor.

“I just didn’t get some of my homework done because I couldn’t do it,” Post-Williamson said.

Now she has an important tool for learning — a laptop to use until she graduates.

“Now that I’ve got it I don’t know what to say,” Post-Williamson said. “I’m in shock because I didn’t believe it.”

“The laptops belong to the school. It’s like the most expensive textbook you’ll ever own,” said Monique Flickinger, Instructional Technology Coordinator.

The $900 computers were paid for with a voter-approved hike in property taxes — part of $6 million in new technology.

“I think it’s going to help kids have access to research tools that they need to produce quality work,” history teacher Megan Baker said. “The other thing is, it’s going to make us move our classrooms into the 21st century, which we need to do.”

Physics teacher Kristy Bibbey says the laptops will be great tools, but it will be important to make sure students learn to really use and understand all that data they’ll now have at their fingertips.

“Sometimes, if the computers do too much of the thinking, we lose some of the thought process, and the thought process is probably the most valuable part of the education,” Bibbey said.

Students pay $50 for a warranty. Each summer they’ll turn the computer in for upgrades and repairs and then get it back in the fall when another crop of freshmen will get their laptops to start high school.

Freshmen at Fort Collins’ other high schools will get their computers later this year after parents and students go through a required computer training class.

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