April 8th, 2011

WATCH: The Mooresville Tech Revolution

The town of Mooresville, North Carolina has a grand plan for its school district: three years ago, they began providing laptops to every student and teacher in grades 4-12 (over 5000 laptops in all). While computers have been around in schools for over two decades at this point, Mooresville is one of the only entirely digital districts in the United States.

The district superintendent, Mark Edwards, speaks of a “disconnect” between students’ everyday lives and school in the absence of technology in classrooms; Edwards also notes that other school districts have visited Mooresville and viewed it as a successful financial model. Mooresville spends about $200 per year, per student on this plan.

One teacher, Bethany Smith, claims she was “a dictator” before this tech revolution; now, she feels her relationship with her students has more flexibility.

Still, though, there are issues: will students remain on-task? Since the program must limit certain types of sites and information, is that a disservice to students? Can a school “divorcing” itself from textbooks actually thrive?

Reporter John Tulenko and producer Audrey Baker explore these issues in this piece, which aired on April 8, 2011 on PBS NewsHour.

Download transcript (PDF)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Way to go Mooresville!!!!! Fabulous way to prepare our children for the 21st century…….

I don’t know who the boy in the green hoodie is, but he looks dashingly handsome.

Congratulations NC, you managed to finally catch up to Ontario.

Yeah Mooresville Graded School District! PROUD to be a part of this!

This is awesome. MGSD is headed in the right direction, and is quickly finding the most efficient ways of eliminating an education gap that has plagued U.S. school systems for decades.

On another note, I’m happy to see we caught up to Ontario, Canadian approval is always cute. Maybe we should implement the Mounted Police next?

My daughter is in the school they highlighted and the school has been an amazing help she has adhd and for the first time she is an honor student because it helps her work in a way that encourages new thinking. I love the new way she learns she is so engaged in how they teach. way to go.

Patricia, as an educator (here in NYC) I would love to know how this program “encourages new thinking.” Is it that she’s more fully engaged in her work and/or that she’s learning in different ways, visually, for example? Is she more inquisitive, a better problem solver, critical thinker? Does she enjoy more control over what she’s doing than when working with textbooks, more active than passive? Thanks very much,
John Barell

My son goes to school in Mooresville and I must tell you in his words his thoughts on these laptops, ” It makes my book bag so heavy and hard to carry” I see some kids playing games on theirs during class.”

Mark Edwards and his team are making a difference for kids, not only in Mooresville, but through his example, everywhere. His visionary, bold leadership has assembled a world class team who together are giving teachers freedom to connect with kids, and are giving the students a voice. Bravo Mooresville. Lead on…..

I go to mooresville graded schools!!!!!!!!!

oh and i was in chris gammon’s class!!!

I noticed that teachers reported changing their teaching practices and was wondering what professional development teachers received to move them in that direction?

There are work days for teachers regularly to update the information as they are able to do so. This is like the internet an evolving process and for the kids benefits way outweigh the negatives and the teachers are learning to adapt to the methods while the kids do…it begins more of a teachers and student learning together process which is great.

Michelle you can look at how they are working these all out at the district website mgsd mooresville graded school district

This is a well done video that answers a lot of questions about integrating technology in the classroom. I am also glad to hear that time was taken to train the teachers on how to use the technology. Keep up the good work Mooresville!

What they don’t report is that pornography is rampant among the students. They get around the filters and blocked web sites with ease. Parents that work cannot always be home to monitor what’s being seen. It’s frustrating and destructive…many kids are already addicted. You may say they can find this information anyway…but the truth is…at my house they wouldn’t have access. But thanks to the schools…they now have access when I can’t be home to monitor it. I wish our school system didn’t have the computers. Only time will tell how much damage this is doing to their ability to have healthy, loving, committed relationships.

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