HISD Technology Officer: District Wants Graduates To Be 'Good Digital Citizens'

Klien ISD teacher training on laptops.
This morning it was reported how the Klein Independent School District first prepares teachers before every high school student gets a laptop to use in class and take home. The Houston Independent School District is working on a similar plan.

It’s going to cost at least $10 million dollars to equip every high school student with a laptop in HISD.

The district is going to spend $100 million dollars in bond money to upgrade the network infrastructure to support those computers.

Lenny Schad is the chief technology officer at HISD.

“You look at that total sticker cost of $10 million and it looks very high but you have to think about all the other things you’re going to stop doing to fund that.”

For example he says schools will stop spending so much money on textbooks once students have laptops.

Before coming to HISD, Schad revamped the technology program in Katy schools.

He says it’s more than just learning math or science on a laptop. It’s about being responsible in the online world.

“From a student perspective, it’s helping students understand what it means to live in this digital world, just because it says something on Wikipedia doesn’t’ mean that it’s true and what you post on the internet, that stays with you for the rest of your life. We want our students in HISD when they graduate, we want them to be good digital citizens.  We want them to understand if you’re going to live in this world, here’s how you live in it responsibly.”

He wants to involve the whole community.

“I think everybody recognizes it’s not if school districts do this, it’s when school districts do this because this is how kids expect to learn. It’s the world that they’re going to grow up in.”

The goal is for every student from third grade to twelfth grade in HISD to have a laptop within the next three years.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...