Created: 08/14/2014 6:54 PM KAALtv.com
By: Dan Conradt
(ABC 6 News) -- It’s a centerpiece of their leisure time, and it’s playing an increasingly important role in education.
And this year, technology moves to a new level for students at one Austin school.
"This opens up a whole new world of possibilities," said Ellis Middle School tech integrationist Derik Gustafson.
“We are continuing the one to one laptop initiative that was started at I-J Holton a year ago," said Ellis principal Jason Senne.
And consistency is one reason for the expansion.
"If you just have it for one year, then I think I'd miss it," said Erica Manzano.
She’s one of last year’s Holton intermediate school sixth graders who become an Ellis 7th grader this year.
"I really liked how you can take it home and if you're studying and you forgot to do it at school you can do it there," Manzano said.
“They're already living in a tech-integrated world, and so all we're doing is taking what's going on around the real world and putting it into our schools," said Gustafson.
And this week, it was time for the Ellis staff to go back to school – for a three-day technology boot-camp
"We learned a little bit about different ways to use these devices within our classrooms," Senne said.
"I think the really awesome opportunity that using an internet-infused classroom and a technology-infused classroom is going to give us is the way we can collaborate with others, not only in our room but in our school and more importantly eventually across the whole world," Gustafson said.
“We've upgraded our internet system so we're up to a ten gig system," Senne told us.
So is one-to-one the future of education?
“That's hard to say,” Derik Gustafson said. “You think about how much things have changed over time, I don't know if we're moving into the future or just catching up."