LIBERTY, Mo. -- A digital transformation is underway for high school students at Liberty Public Schools. About 3,400 students in are getting laptop computers to use in class and at home throughout the school year.
The laptops are part of the district's effort to be on the cutting edge of education. At Liberty North High School seniors are checked out their new Macbook Air machines.
Educators said they want Liberty students to combine learning from a teacher in the classroom with doing assignments at home, or wherever they are, with a computer.
School leaders say they recognize that colleges are increasing their use of online courses. And they say students need discipline to succeed when working independently. Getting laptops in the classrooms at the high school level will help teens learn to digitally manage and organize what's expected of them.
Last year, the district tested both PCs and Macs. After three pilot classes, students expressed a strong preference for the Apple operating system and its design and features.
"Twenty-four hour access for our students is really going to level the playing field and increase their accountability and the reachability of all the lessons they will have both online and face-to-face," said Tara Harvey, blended learning coach at Liberty North.
Liberty is leasing 3,400 Macbooks to provide the technology within its budget.
Each student is asked to pay $40 to insure their computer. Those who don't pay for insurance must check out the machine every day from the school library.
The district also understands that not every household has internet access. One day a week there will be a bus leaving late from school, so students can stay and work with their laptops using Wi-Fi at the school.