New laptop computers at Powell Butte Elementary School enable students to surf the World Wide Web

by: KATE WENNERSTROM/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Students at Powell Butte Elementary log on to their new Gateway Tablet computers on Wednesday.  The computers were given to the sixth grade classroom after the High Desert Educational Service District approved a grant allowing Powell Butte and Tumalo Elementary Schools to purchase the laptops.

Enthusiastic student participation comes with new computers in the classroom.
   The sixth grade class at Powell Butte Elementary has recently been awarded 25 new laptop computers as part of grant offered by the High Desert Educational Service District (HDESD).
   "I think it's a really good privilege for us to get these," sixth grade student Simon Villella said. "If we need to look something up on the internet or find information, we can just get on our computers and look."
   Kurt Sloper's class received the laptops after the HDESD approved a grant to purchase the Gateway Tablet PCs for Powell Butte and Tumalo Elementary Schools.
   With the ever-growing availability of resources on the internet, the children are looking forward to all they'll be able to find.
   "For our social studies, we can look at a place to get a better idea of what it looks like," sixth grade student Brey Kissler said.
   The laptops are all connected to a wireless Internet service provided through HDESD, allowing the students controlled access to the Internet. For now, the sixth graders have learned the basics of how to use the computers and started keeping their journal entries saved in them.
   Sloper is planning on having the children pick photographs for backgrounds and screensavers as a way to personalize the laptops. Meanwhile, each computer is labeled with the students' names.
   When not in use, the laptops are secured in a specialty workstation that keeps them organized and charges them at regular intervals.
   Along with typing skills, Sloper hopes that the children will be able to learn computer proficiency through the Microsoft Office programs and the Internet.
   "We always learn something new, we just learned this week how to get them turned on," Villella said. "We learn something new every day on them."
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