High Tech McIntosh County School

Thursday, August 31st 2006, 10:05 am
By: News On 6

A small, rural Oklahoma school district is experiencing a technological revolution. Most schools around the state are trying to inject more high-tech gadgets into the classroom. But a small school in McIntosh County is taking that to the next level.

News on 6 education reporter Ashli Sims went to Stidham to visit what folks call, the school of the future.

These days it's pretty typical to see little hands reaching for a computer mouse or little fingers moving across a keyboard. But what's different about Stidham, computers, specifically laptops, are everywhere.

Helping second graders read, exposing fourth graders to Beethoven. Every single Stidham student has access to their own laptop in class, all day. Stidham superintendent Bart Banfield: "we truly believe this is the direction that education is going."

The small country school sandwiched between hay bales and a cow pasture has been investing in this program for three years. The school bought more than 120 laptop computers and equipped them with wireless, high-speed Internet access. 7 year old Tala Joyner says she much rather read with her laptop than pick up a book. "I like em. You can just push the words and it'll tell them to you.”

Stidham joins a hand full of schools across the nation that are trying this one to one laptop program. One of them is in California at Fullerton Public Schools. They have a study that investigated how the program is doing there. They found that teachers like it, students love it, but the results on test scores aren't quite clear.

1st and 2nd grade teacher Sheila Brackett says she doesn't need numbers, she can see proof of the program's success in her students who struggle. "I almost got teary-eyed because of the success that I was seeing with that child. And up to that point, I wasn't seeing any success. And I realized, hey these laptops they're really a good thing."

As anyone with a personal computer knows, these machines can and will most likely breakdown or have some kind of technical difficulty.

Stidham's superintendent says their working with a company out of Muskogee to help cope with the electronic hiccups. But he says the teachers are really stepping up and doing alot of trouble shooting on their own.