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Online textbooks

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WSVN -- Maria Glass, Principal of St. Agatha Catholic School: "Are you guys with me? Are we on the same page?"

These students are on the same page, but not of a textbook. Their lessons are now on-line. This year- every sixth, seventh and eighth grader at Saint Agatha Catholic School has their own mini-laptop.

Maria Glass: "Teachers are always looking for ways to engage the students, something to motivate them."

So the school decided to ditch traditional textbooks and move students into the technology age.

Maria Glass: "The students seem more engaged, they're more excited, they seem to be more focused."

Students now have access to instant information right in the classroom. On-line textbooks are constantly being updated, and bring the lessons to life.

Maria Glass: "They can see in a textbook how Egypt was way back when, and now they can compare it to how it looks presently through Google earth."

Students say using the mini-laptops makes their studies easier to understand.

Cesar Sabates, 8th Grader: "There's interactive worksheets, and power points, and that helps you a lot especially in math and science."

Another plus- no more bulging backpacks.

Stephanie Tamayo, 8th Grader: "I liked that it didn't weigh as much as carrying your books, you don't leave your books anywhere anymore, it's all in one place."

Parents love it because there's no more excuses about why they can't do their homework.

Amarillys Perez, parent: "Even if they don't have the laptop, they have a user name and a password, so they can be anywhere and access those books. I thought it was a great idea."

And Principal Maria Glass says the move is actually cost-effective.

Maria Glass: "We're looking at this stack of books which is approximately $450. This year they're getting the mini-laptop which is if they went by our recommendation it was less than $300."

But parents say the best part is their kids have never been more excited about learning.

Joel Someillan, parent: "For a parent to see your kid excited about doing homework, you can't put a price on that, very happy about that."

The school has placed filters on their servers so students can only access what they need to for their studies. If a student breaks the code, their laptop is taken away and it's back to the books.

(Copyright 2011 by Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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