The first day of school is exciting for many students, but those in the Central Unified School District have another reason to be excited.
Wednesday, the school district launched its tablet program where every student K-12 will receive a tablet--that's about 15,000 students.
On the first day of school at Harvest Elementary, third grader Talyn is learning multiplication facts on her new tablet.
"I thought it was super cool and fun," she said.
And that's the point, educational leaders said, to make learning fun and relevant for today's technologically advanced generation.
"Public education isn't broken, but it's antiquated," said Michael Berg, superintendent of Central Unified. "One of the things we know is students don't learn the way they used to learn. Students are digital learners today."
Berg said Central Unified is the first in the state to have a tablet for each student, making the tablet program a game-changer by providing around-the-clock access to education.
"Like when I take it home, I can do it (computer-based learning) in the car or home," Talyn said.
The project was five years in the making. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said he'd like to see this happen across the state.
"So you're leading the state. This is an historic day--great day of accomplishment. You, I do think, are leading the nation," Torlakson said during a press conference to announce the launch.
Leaders believe students will be more engaged with game-based learning and say the access to this technology helps level the playing field.
"Every child needs to have access to learn in this innovative way," said Congressman Jim Costa (D-Calif.).
The cost for tablets, infrastructure, and services comes with a price tag of about $23 million, according to Berg, with funding coming from the district, state and federal sources.
Teachers aren't ready to toss the hard back books just yet. It will take a few years to make all of the curriculum computer-based, Berg said.
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