Gulfport ninth graders getting e-readers instead of textbooks

Published: Aug. 1, 2011 at 9:04 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2011 at 9:24 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - On Monday night, the Gulfport School Board got a chance to see how the latest technology can give students an academic edge. The superintendent unveiled the district's latest purchase -- 570 refurbished e-readers.

"You can rub your thumb over it and it changes the page," a trainer explained to a group of Gulfport High teachers Monday. "It will give you the opportunity to change the text size and make it larger or make it bolder."

Teachers spent Monday learning how to use the devices.  The teachers and all incoming ninth graders in Gulfport will be among the first in Mississippi to use electronic readers in school. This technology is replacing the old-fashioned textbooks.

"We don't use lockers here at Gulfport High School. So really the ease of having everything right at hand, your English texts, your English reading, your Social Studies, your Science and your Math.  You have everything available in one device," said Gulfport High Principal Dr. Oswago Harper.

The Gulfport School District purchased 525 Nooks for the students and another 45 for the teachers.

"They're fairly simple. Thank goodness. Us grownups can handle it," said Bruce Hoyt, a science teacher at Gulfport High.

Besides being able to download textbooks, library resources, and other literature, teachers can also post study guides, student handbooks, and assignments.

"So there's no more excuse: "I lost the sheet of paper. I can't find my homework."  It's there for them. So they have instant access to everything that we want them to have," said Hoyt. "It's electronic. So immediately it has clout that some written textbook does not."

They also have Internet access and audio books right at their fingertips.  It seemed the teachers were just as excited about integrating this latest technology into their classroom curriculum.

"It's a very useful device," said Harper. "Our primary goal is to enhance student achievement by using the Nooks."

The school district spent about $60,000 to purchase the e-readers, and that included the cost of loading the electronic books. The e-readers will be distributed August 9th.  If a student loses or damages the device, they will have to pay for it.

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