Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 16, 2013

953 new netbooks approved

AISD believes $50 per unit ‘great deal’

Jeff Riggs
The Athens Review

Athens — It’s a great price for netbooks.  That price of $50 per instrument was discussed at the Thursday meeting of the Athens Independent School District.

Netbooks are basically laptop computers that are used to assist students in the classroom.  At this point in time, they will only be offered for purchase by incoming freshmen.  In the future, they may be offered to other grades.

The district plans to purchase 953 of the netbooks from the Texans Can Academy warehouse in Houston.  The district will transport these to Athens in the near future.

AISD Superintendent Blake Stiles said netbooks are great for the classroom.

“It’s a small laptop which is used for different classroom instruction projects,” Stiles said. “I think it’s a no-brainer. We investigated it, and we were finding them for $300 a piece.  We found them for $50 a piece.”

Stiles said the board of trustees during the meeting were skeptical as the discussion began, but changed their feelings.

“I think in the beginning they didn’t fully understand why we were buying so many,” he said. “But they understood later the incredible deal we were getting on them.”

Stiles said the teacher uses the netbook as a resource, much like a textbook. In the past, students were offered tablets that did not have a complete keyboard, and were priced much higher than the netbooks.  The tablets were bought the last two years.

“The tablets didn’t have a traditional keyboard,” Stiles said. “We like netbooks better because they have a keyboard. It was a good deal. It was something we needed to do.  It will be good for students to have the instrument. And, when they are bought in bulk, they get it a little cheaper.”

Technology Coordinator Stacy Dunacusky said the uses of the netbook are endless.

“They can be used for any kind of instructional purpose,” she said. “It’s a small laptop and has a full keyboard.  It is 10-1/2 inches wide.  And, we have a full WiFi on every campus so students can connect with the Internet. They can study science and pull up the anatomy of a cell, or anything else the teacher would ask them to do.”

Dunacusky said the $50 price is the lowest she has found.

“I found some for $200,” she said. “But they were refurbished.  I really did not like that setup.  Then I found some for $250 that I believed was what we were going to have to come up with until this came along. At $50 per unit, they have never been used.  I personally believe this is what we need.”

Dunacusky is aware there are some things in life that are “too good to be true.”  Therefore AISD officials who bring the netbooks back will test them for their quality before hitting the road back to Athens.

Dunacusky said that if they are brought back, the price will be passed on to the consumer.

“We are trying to teach responsibility,” she said. “If this is your property, and you paid for it, you are probably going to be more responsible with it.”

Dunacusky said there is no set time that the district will bring the netbooks from their location in Houston, but she believes it will be soon.  She said permission will be summoned from the Texas Education Agency, and the matter will go before the board of Texans Can Academy for their final approval.