"Education and instruction has gotten away from being so textbook-driven and that has certainly been the security blanket for teachers, but more and more we are seeing the use of multiple resources, one of those being available through the web, and that's why we've been trying to stay on top of technology," Cartersville Assistant Superintendent Ken Clouse said.
Examples of this technology implemented in city and county schools include the use of the iPad at Cass High School and Cartersville High School.
Cass High language arts teacher Kathleen McKenzie last year received a grant from the Bartow Education Foundation toward an iPad, which she has said allows for more modern literature to be taught in the classroom.
Cartersville High this year is using iPads in a pilot program for a group of 25 freshman who receive about half of their day's instruction in the same classroom using personal iPads.
"They're in this room that has the capabilities ... where here in just a few months it will be where everything they put on their iPad and everything they go over will be projected on the screen," Assistant Principal Bryan Edwards said. "In a lot of ways this technology will, in future years, make SMART Boards obsolete in a sense."
He said the iSchool Initiative team, led by Kennesaw State University student Travis Allen, oriented teachers and students with the iPads to show its capabilities, which include accessing educational materials like e-books and electronic textbooks.
"The beauty of [the iPads] is [students] can use it at home," Edwards said. "They can have their notes and everything they need for class right there on their iPad."
He said the pilot program began when the school recognized some students may need extra time and assistance working through certain subjects like math and English language arts.
"Of course as the students received this technology and started playing with it, their eyes lit up and it was like a huge Christmas for them," Edwards said.
Bartow County Secondary Director of Curriculum Jim Gottwalt said the decision to have a bigger emphasis on technology was made to better suit the schools as a whole.
"What we've done with books, like most other school systems are doing, we're not really buying much in the way of textbooks because of e-learning and the digital things you can get now," Gottwalt said. "The money comes from the general fund, and we've opted to keep teachers employed rather than buy books."
He said buying less textbooks does not mean students are doing without the necessary reading materials inside and outside of class.
"The only contact I've had about anything that had to do with books is from Woodland High School for an AP class, which I didn't know they needed the books last spring," Gottwalt said, adding the books have since been purchased.
Cartersville Director of Curriculum Peggy Cowan said the school system is not facing any shortage of books.
"I'm confident we don't have that problem," Cowan said.
Clouse and Gottwalt said the emphasis on technology in the classroom is an improvement over the previous emphasis on printed materials.
"With the way kids are today with their ability to use the digital world and Internet, you can get more accurate and up-to-date information with teachers using that rather than textbooks," Clouse said.
He said the move away from textbooks has changed the learning and instruction process in the classroom, but it will take some time to develop a plan for how the schools will update their technology.
"We're at a point now where we're kind of letting the technology work itself out. You don't want to buy new technology until all the bugs are worked out, but we have certainly had those initial discussions and I think in the near future we will be seriously looking at that. It's just the format things are going to be presented and we'll be right there with it," Clouse said.
Gottwalt said Bartow is looking at other school systems as a model for advancing technology.
"We plan on looking at some systems that are maybe a little further advanced than we are right now because it takes a lot of infrastructure work, but we are exploring ways and avenues in which we can get to that area," Gottwalt said.