Last updated: 19.09.12

Indiana schools 'seek more e-learning tools'

Many schoolchildren in the US state of Indiana who wish to receive the benefits of online learning are unable to because of the rising number of families who cannot afford laptops or tablets.

Over a third of public school students at institutions in the Clark-Pleasant, Franklin and Greenwood areas are enrolled in programmes offering free and reduced-price lunches, the Republic reports.

Local schools understand that families are unable to provide the necessary equipment for the students, with each laptop costing between $200 (£125) and $500 (£310).

Consequently, educational directors within the districts of Edinburgh and Center Grove are doing it for them and are covering the costs of students from low-income families who need to pay technology and textbook fees.

Bob Straugh, director of technology at a school in Edinburgh, Indiana, was quoted as saying: "We're a school. We have to provide them the tools they need to succeed. Bottom line, no matter what it takes. And just because you're at the poverty level doesn't mean you don't get that right."

After searching for ways to provide his students with laptops four years ago, he purchased $80,000 (£49,000) worth of equipment for pupils in the sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

He managed to later extend his reach to fourth and fifth-grade pupils after supplying them with 640 laptops.

"Before they go [to college] or are in the workforce, we've got to get these kids ready," Mr Straugh said.

Elsewhere in Clark-Pleasant, Whiteland Community High School bought 120 tablets for its students for a new biology and computer applications digital learning course.

Teachers at the school aim to use the devices for paperless assignments and handouts that students will be able to access away from the classroom.

However, the school wishes to purchase more tablets so that students of all grades have access to e-learning materials but it currently lacks adequate funding.

Technology director of the district Jim White commented that students will benefit from bringing their own laptops and devices into school as most assignments cannot be completed on smartphones.

Last week, an expert from said that e-learning tools are crucial to enhancing the education of students, allowing them to study in their own space and improving the overall success of institutions.