NC pushes to get students to pick up technology instead of textbooks

by: Allison Latos Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There's a new push to get North Carolina students to put down textbooks and pick up technology.

Inside Susan Menkel's 6th grade social studies class at Mooresville Intermediate School, students don't use textbooks.

Each student has their own Macbook Air.

"I live in Huntersville and a lot of my friends go to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools," said student, Caroline Mcrorey. "I think it's cool that I get to use technology every day."

The district went digital five years ago and hasn't purchased a book since.

"The way classrooms used to be organized, we were getting students ready for factory jobs," said Menkel. "Most of the jobs these kids are going to have, haven't been created."

State Rep. Craig Horn of Union County wants to see education change statewide.

"This is a moral issue. This is a civil rights issue. This is a economic issue and a jobs issue," said Horn.

Horn is co-chairing a new legislative committee that will start studying the idea this week.

Menkel said the technology has especially helped students who struggle with science.

"It's such a reading-based subject so the more you can get their hands on it, or they can hear it or see it, the more they're going to understand," she said.

According to district officials, they have proof digital education is successful. Graduation rates jumped from 77 percent in 2007 to 90 percent last year.

Mooresville graded schools receive some of the lowest per-pupil state funding. Officials said they they pulled resources to transform their classrooms.

Funding for a statewide revamp remains a challenge.

Horn said he'd like to see North Carolina develop public-private partnerships to pay for digital education.

The new committee will meet for the first time on Thursday in Raleigh.