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LEARNING VIA LAPTOP TAKES OFF IN ORANGE CO.

At the start of this school year, Orange County Schools became one of the first school districts in North Carolina, and the first in the Triangle, to give a laptop to every middle and high school student.The transition has gone so smoothly the district plans to expand the program next year to include fourth- and fifth-graders. Some teachers say they can't imagine going back to a no-laptop classroom. "It would be like trying to go back and teach math using an abacus," said Michele Johnson, who teaches English at A.L. Stanback Middle School.The laptops are simply a way to prepare students for the way the world is going, said Superintendent Patrick Rhodes. In addition, a confluence of events added up to a "perfect storm" for Orange County to go digital right now, said Angie Veitch, media and technology director.

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