Oakland schools receive 2,000 HP Mini Netbook computers


High school senior Lionel Hamilton is looking forward to graduating.

"I'm looking up stuff for my senior project, steps on how to build a successful business," Hamilton said.

There's a wealth of information online, but getting it hasn't always been easy.

"Cuz wehere I come from we can't afford computers like this, so for people to just give us these is a great opportunity for us," Hamilton said.

Those people are from Safeway and the computers are 2,000 HP Netbooks.

Safeway bought them to use in its supermarkets, but never rolled them out.

"We had these 2,000 netbooks available, and I was asked what should we do with them, and I said 'stop don't touch them,"' Safeway Public Affairs Vice President Tina Massingale said.

Just in time for the second semester, Safeway's giving the netbooks to McClymonds High School. It's a school with a focus on science and tech located in West Oakland.

"Everybody knows that Mack is a ghetto, urban school. So just showing that people are committed to come here and do something for the school inspires me to do so much more with my life," student Cardell Howard said.

With 2000 of these netbooks, there are way more than they can use at just one school. But McClymonds will be the test site, where they'll figure out how to roll these out to other schools in the district.

"Hopefully next year we will see a totally different environment in which technology is definitely infused into what we do here at McClymonds," Principal Anisha Hamberlin said.

The principal says the computers will live in the classroom, but students will be able to check them out to work on assignments at home.

For freshman Diamond Redus that also means connecting online with the teacher.

"Some kids are afraid to like raise their hand and ask teachers," Redus said.

For sophomore Fanae Clark, it means a game that teaches programming.

"Program the robot to do what you want it to do, but it's kind of like a puzzle," Clark said.

Oakland joins other Bay Area school districts going digital, some rolling out Apple iPads, and others Google Chromebooks.

These netbooks run Windows, which can take more work to set up and manage, so Safeway is cutting a check for $29, 750.

But to students about to enter a 21st century workforce, teachers say the benefit is priceless.

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