By the time students wake up for the school day, teachers and faculty have already had their first cup of coffee for the morning and are reviewing a schedule that almost always seems to echo the reminder that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. This is the cycle of education.
A few years ago, Empire High School in Vail, Ariz., became the first school in the state to provide laptops to all 350 students and go completely digital—leaving traditional textbooks behind for a more modern approach. The upfront costs for this educational adoption were quite large, but the long-term benefits have been seen in every measurement from decreased financial costs to increased levels of student engagement. There once was a time, not so long back, when the availability of computers at any educational institution was a luxury. Today, computer access is an expected standard. Though for many school districts, the growing student population overwhelms consistent financial shortcomings.
On the other side of the country, Scotland County in North Carolina is home to 36,000 residents, a third of which are under the age of 20. Our 14-site public school system serves more than 6,100 K-12 students. As we are among one of the poorest school districts in the country, only a fraction of our district’s students have internet access at home and many don’t have access to computers at all. For several North Carolina school districts, the answer has been investing in laptops largely with grant funding. Yet after laptops are in place, schools must pay for continuous repair and maintenance, and again find funds for replacement a few years down the road.
(Next page: How desktop virtualization saved the day)