UPDATE: All Chi-Hi students to get laptops next year - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: All Chi-Hi students to get laptops next year

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - All students at the Chippewa Falls High School will now carry laptops, starting next year.

The school board voted Monday night 6-1 to acquire about 1,100 of the Google Samsung Chromebooks.   School Board President James Dimock says that's at a cost of about $275,000.

For the past year, Chi-Hi freshman have been part of a pilot program that has provided them with the laptops.

Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -
If high school freshmen have anything to say about it, a Chippewa Falls pilot project may be expanded. After using laptops in class all year, many freshmen say moving into their sophomore year without them will be a challenge.

High school essentials: paper, pencils, pens and laptops?

"Having a device like a Chromebook in the classroom really allows the teacher to take some of their lessons to a new level and do things they weren't able to do before," Cara Schueller, Chippewa Falls Technology Integration Coach says.

This year, all Chippewa Falls freshmen were provided laptops to use at home and in the classroom by the school district.

"In Social Studies, we've had several teachers use them to allow the students to create websites to show what they know about a particular topic. In the past, they may have done a lot of lecturing," Schueller says.

"I use them to do research. I use them to check email, complete projects, I use them to stay in contact with my teachers," Chi-Hi Freshmen Katie Gienapp says.

"Our history book is online. We just started taking our notes online," Chi-Hi Freshmen Annie Hathaway says.

Now, a proposal would expand the program to all Chi-Hi students at a cost of $275,000 or nearly $250 per student. An expense that not all school board members are on board with.

"Our job would be to provide the data and the students and the parents would provide the application format that they see fit," Pete Lehmann, a school board member says.

He thinks students should choose their computer and pay for it out of pocket.

"That way, the students are comfortable and if they want to make a career choice in their educational system that says I want this device, I'm going to take it with me through college, they have the device. They make a one time investment and they keep moving through the system with it," Lehmann says.

But for the freshmen in the pilot program, the idea of climbing the high school ladder without technological support is something they don't want to see.

"I couldn't imagine not using the Chromebooks, it would be really hard," Gienapp says.

Again, the cost for the expanding the laptop program would be $275,000, a tab that the school district would pick up. The proposed plan is slated for action at the Chippewa Falls School Board Meeting on Monday night. That meeting begins at seven p.m. and we'll keep you updated on that decision.

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