Sioux Central sixth graders will be going to school in fall 2004 with more in their hands than a lunch ticket and a Britney Spears homework trapper.
The school has decided to use its revenue from the recent federal "Star" grant to purchase hand-held computers for every sixth grader.
The school received $25,000, and chose the project over other options, such as paying toward the building's existing cost. The funds are intended toward any use use involving technology and middle school-elementary school children.
Sioux Central has been working closely with a NASA-sponsored education program, and when a school representative went to Seattle last summer to train in the program, the staffer was given a "palm" computer to use while there.
"It proved so valuable that when our team leader came back, the enthusiasm for these hand-held computers was really the reason for choosing to spend our grant in this way," Superintendent Bonnie Meier said. "We found that they would be more cost-effective for us to obtain, and plus, if NASA thinks they're great, they must be good."
The school will get training to get maximum use out of the devices, which will be given to students next fall for the 2004-2005 school year.
"I believe the students will be able to take photos with them, access the Internet, do their assignments and then download them in class," Meier said. "We will also be getting a portable keyboard for each palm computer so that students won't just be punching them with one finger."
The students are excited to learn about the development, she added - well, almost all the students. "There's already been a little grumbling heard from this year's sixth-graders," she confided.