District Director of Technology Sal DeAngelo said there does exist the possibility for distraction and misuse of the devices, but added under the type of system the school hopes to implement, teachers would be able to monitor every student's device while in the classroom. They could then pull that image up for the whole class to discuss should a student, say, find a pertinent piece of information on the Internet.
In this way, the classroom could become a more interactive environment.
"This does not replace good instruction in the classroom...it's just that the paradigm of [teachers'] role is changing," DeAngelo said. "Gone are the days when the teacher is the keeper of knowledge."
Expanding to a "1:1 computing" program has long been a district goal, DeAngelo said, and it is one that was studied by the district's 21st Century Committee. Other area schools, including Niskayuna, Schenectady, Watervliet and Albany, are moving towards such a standard.
The borrowed money would cover the cost of the computers, but a full-time job in the technology department eliminated this year would have to be reinstated, with another being added later. With decreasing state aid and ballooning health and pension costs, the district has cut money from its budget in the last few years even while taxes rise.
"We've never had a good budget year," said Tebbano, who has been superintendent since 2008. "When other school districts around the area are achieving this through similar means, I think it probably stands to reason we have to get our kids ready for the future."