Tablet takeover

Klein implements new technology into the classroom

Photos by Ariel Van Patten & Lyndsey Hill
The Hp EliteBook with Widnows 7 and an Intel core i3 processor have touch screen capabilities, rotating screen, and a stylus.

Through the years students have watched as Klein Oak, Klein Collins, and Klein Forest high school, and Krimmel Intermediate received new tablets. After five years, Klein is no longer a spectator in the stands. Students in all grades were given the new tablets on Sept. 10 during second period.

“The cost of each computer is $1200,” said Assistant Principal Prentiss Harper. “4,000 kids times $1200 for the cost of the tablet is how much it cost to get all these tablets in the school.”

The district began planning to distribute tablets to Klein five years ago. Teachers were the first to test drive the tablets, and students were scheduled to get them the next year. However, these plans were set back due to the start of construction on the new building.

“I’d rather have a new school than new laptops,” said senior Katy Prince. “The old school was molding and getting gross and was becoming kind of a health hazard. But I like the new tablets. OneNote is my favorite program it allows me to have all my notes in one place.”

Others have yet to form an opinion on the tablets.

“I haven’t had enough time to decide whether or not they’re a hindrance in the classrooms or not,” said English IV teacher Kayla Trainer.  “As a teacher and a mom, I went to both meetings about them. In the meeting we had as teachers, they were trying to train us to get comfortable with the software that the administration had planned on us using in the classrooms. In the meeting with the parents, we were told the different insurance plans that were offered. We’ve only had them for a couple of weeks now, and once we’ve had them for a little longer, I’ll be able to decide if they help in the classrooms.”

Since the end of the 2012-2013 school year, Harper said the administration has been trying to find the most effective way to ease parents and students into the transition with the help of letters and e-mails serving as constant reminders to attend the informational meetings this past summer.

“My parents didn’t want to pay the $70 for the laptop,” said junior Shelton Thompson. “Instead they’re making me pay for it, but I don’t want to. I am getting left behind in my classes, but I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. “

Although the majority of the school received their tablets on the original roll out date. The administration is still distributing tablets.

“We’re trying to locate the students who still don’t have their laptops and figure out why,” said Harper. “If it’s a financial problem then we try to work out a way for them to pay and work with the parents on trying to get them on the same page as the rest of the school.”

At the beginning of the year, the staff was worried that the switch would not work out.

“It was a lot easier than we thought it would be,” said Pre Calculus teacher Erica Bowman. “It’s taking us longer than we thought to figure out the programs. It’s tough, but it’s a lot easier than we anticipated.”

They worried that bringing in new computers would fail and would not work and that the students and teachers would not be able to incorporate them in the curriculum as well as the other Klein schools.

However, nearly two months of getting used to the tablets has changed some minds.

“The laptops don’t bother me as much in the classroom,” said Pre Calculus teacher Josie Mallery.  “I still do board work and I still hand out paper work, but Blackboard has been a big help.”

The laptops are not a requirement, however teachers are trying to implement the laptops into their daily routines and curriculum to show the community the advantages they bring as a tool in the classroom.

“The school’s administration is working hard to get everyone on the same page to make learning with these new tools more efficient,” said Harper. “We have a great staff. The only mishaps we had were when some students couldn’t turn them on or their laptop wasn’t there, probably because they hadn’t paid for them, but all in all the distribution was a success. And I am very proud of our great staff and our great student body for this going off without a hitch.”