Competing with Computers

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Statewide, there is one computer for every five students.
At Wooster High School, in Reno, it's about one computer for every ten students.

Lorraine Benham, the computer literacy teacher at Wooster, says they're trying to catch up, so the students can compete in the workforce after graduation.
"If they wanted go straight from high school to a job, and the only skill they have is nine weeks of keyboards and a little bit of microsoft office suite."

Benham says it's hard to play catch-up when it comes to computers on the job.
And while it's expensive, she says she agrees with the recent report giving the state of Nevada an overall D- grade when it comes to student and teacher access and use of computers.

The computers in her classroom are four years old.
The teachers use computers 8-to-10 years old.
"We need to upgrade the classrooms and add more technology, so the kids can see it. We need to add graphic design classes, classes these kids can use when they go out to get a job."

Tom Roice, with the Washoe County School District's information technology department, says thanks to state funding, several high schools in the district are getting computer upgrades for its teachers.
"We currently have about 15,000 systems in the district. If we were to swap those out: 15,000 times 1,000 is about 15 million a year, each year. The public can't afford that."

The current computers were not compatible with the district's "edline" which allows teachers to post information about students directly to the parents.
Benham says the upgrade is appreciated throughout the school, but 14-hundred students will still share 90 computers.
"It does affect them because they can only show on their transcript that they have one semester of computer literacy. That's all they're going to have."