FETC News: Netbooks key to K-5 mobile journalism program

Pinellas County Schools has deployed more than 7,000 Dell Latitude 2100 netbooks.

"We chose to install the Latitude 2100s in our schools not just because of the great price point - we could provide more students access to a laptop - but because it was specifically designed with students in mind," said John Just, CIO of Pinellas County Schools.

Of the 7,000 netbooks, 446 systems have been allocated to a one-on-one mobile journalism program at Melrose Elementary Center for Journalism and Multimedia, a St. Petersburg magnet school.

Melrose has the school district's only full-time elementary-level journalism program for students in grades K-5 and is nationally recognized for its curriculum, which also includes technology and literary arts. The program is designed to prepare students for admission to the Center for the Arts and Communication Studies at John Hopkins Middle School.

With the new program, students will have access not only to their own netbooks, but also to a connected learning environment where they can acquire and sharpen 21st century skills.

Teachers will learn how to develop relevant curricula using education software tools such as Moodle, while webinars, online education and in-person training will help them integrate technology into the journalism curriculum.