Parents voice frustrations over school's digital switch - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Parents voice frustrations over school's digital switch

Students traded in books for laptops, but it's causing more of a headache for some parents at home. Students traded in books for laptops, but it's causing more of a headache for some parents at home.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It's been almost a month since the digital transition at Huntsville City Schools. Students traded in books for laptops, but it's causing more of a headache for some parents at home.

Students and parents picked up their new laptops a week before classes. Now, school officials are giving parents a chance to sound off about the issues the computers have caused.

Parent Ray Jones said he was excited when the school went digital, but his excitement quickly turned to concern when he started having trouble with one of his kid's school-issued laptop.

"We turned his laptop back in the first day of school because it didn't work," Jones said. "We just got a laptop today and as of earlier today it still didn't work. I really try to be patient and understanding because I know there's a lot they embarked on, but that made me nervous because each day he didn't have his computer he was falling behind."

Jones, along with other concerned parents, attended a meeting where they could voice their concerns and get solutions to their computer problems. During the Q&A portion, parents shared problems of not having Internet access, web site restrictions and printing problems. Engineers and technical staff were standing nearby to help.

"As I'm seeing the problems I think they should have taken a better approach; looks like they took on a lot at one time and hit bumps in the road," Jones said.

School officials admit there have been bumps in the road, but they said that's to be expected anytime you try something new. In the meantime, Jones hopes that the bumpy technical road will get soother as time goes on.

Some of the major issues are for those who don't have the internet at home or don't have a laptop.

School officials said assignments can be downloaded on the laptop or students can be given a hard copy of the work. 

Pearson, the company the school system is using for the digital curriculum, provided teachers with books just in case a student ran into issues.

School officials said the systems broadband width is 10 times bigger than it was last year.  If the child is anywhere near a school or some place with Wi-Fi, they can log on.

Keith Ward with Huntsville City Schools said teachers are working with students on a case by case basis.

"Something that's a project this big, it would be fantastic if you could snap your fingers and it all works 100 percent, but that's why we referred to this as a transition into it so that we ease out of what we were doing into the technology phase," said Ward.

Some parents have had a problem with logging in.  Many have said the passwords are not working.  IT manager Sandra Simmons said those can be reset. And if there's a bad connection, try adjusting the modem or logging through another internet browser.

"I think they are learning and we are the learning curve," Jones said. "I think as time goes on, it'll get better."

Here are the future locations for parents to discuss any digital issues they may be having. 

All meetings start at 6:30            

 9/18 Huntsville High

9/19 Grissom High

9/24 Columbia High

9/25 Lee High

9/26 Butler High

10/3 Johnson high 

Copyright 2012 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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