Laptops Proposed for Lynchburg Schools

Lynchburg, VA - A laptop for every student: that's the big goal Lynchburg City Schools is setting for the next several years, part of their one-to-one initiative.

The first plan is to get teachers laptops. If the plan works with teachers this coming school year, students could get laptops, too.

"If we're going to prepare students for their future, this is their pencil and paper," said Doug Wickham with Lynchburg City Schools.

Wickham's one of the brains behind the laptop initiative. He says the plan has potential to change the classroom as we know it.

"Probably going to be a shift away from the being the knowledge-keeper, and more of a facilitator of that knowledge," Wickham said.

Wickham says pilot programs this year at three city schools have been a success.

First teachers would get laptops. Then, by 2014: a laptop for every middle-school kid, and so on from there.

The bold idea will cost money, an estimated $7 million.

School Board member Tom Webb says the political will is there to find the dough, however.

"George Allen, the old coach of the Redskins, used to say, 'the future is now.' The future is now for technology," Webb said.

There are two other concerns that include online safety and damage.

Similar to a textbook, students will be responsible for their laptop and insurance will cover accidental damage. Software should keep students safe.

For Wickham, computers are here to stay and it's time city schools jumps on board.

Administrators say they've traveled to school districts already using laptops in Richmond and North Carolina to learn what's best for Lynchburg.