Elgin School District Plans to Boost Computer Usage among Students

Article excerpt

Byline: Heather Ryndak Daily Herald Staff Writer

Robert Kaup knows that even with a technology-crazed society, computers will never replace personalized instruction.

But the Elgin Area Unit District 46 director of information services still sees the need for computers to enhance learning in schools.

"This is just another tool and another method to incorporate in the learning process," said Kaup, a former U-46 math teacher.

A recent technology plan shows U-46 is on pace to provide one computer per eight students within two years.

Based on increases in both enrollment and outdated computers, about 650 new computers are expected to be added to U-46 schools by the 2000-2001 school year - escalating the amount of time students can spend on the equipment.

Last year, the district spent about $1 million to purchase 750 computers, mainly so that all elementary schools will have at least one computer available per 11 students this fall, officials said.

That's a drastic improvement at some schools like Bartlett Elementary, where an average of 28 children used one computer last year.

"We had 14 computers in our lab, and only half a class could use the computers at one time," said Karen Carlson, Bartlett Elementary's principal last year.

"The teacher would have to find something else for the kids to do. The kids weren't able to get on the computers often, and they wouldn't retain what they learned."

Students at Bartlett spent only about a half-hour each week on the computers last year. That time should at least double this year with the additional computers, Carlson said. …