Used laptops can be a student's future

West Point High School modern history teacher Bruce Mize incorporates makes technology an integral part of his teaching. He is trying to get used laptops or tablets donated so he can covert them into Chrome devices to give to students who don't have access to computers at home.
Staff Writer

He first got the idea when he started teaching 19 years ago at Gentry High School in Indianola. Even then, it was clear technology was going to be the ticket to the future for students.

He started getting old desktop computers donated and taught his students how to refurbish them to give to students who didn't have technology.

Today, Bruce Mize, who has taught modern world history at West Point High School for 10 years, needs used laptops and tablets for a similar purpose.

Using free software available on the Internet and some other tools, he can turn those soon-to-be-discarded devices into technology for students who don't have access at home.

That technology is more critical to their future than the clothes they wear, a car, or even the color of their skin.

"I retool them and give them to students. At the end of the semester, they give it back so another student can use it. You'd be surprised at how many of our students don't have a computer at home. They either don't have one or have to go to their grandmother's house or something like that," Mize said Thursday, demonstrating on a 'smart board' how he incorporates tomorrow's learning techniques into his lessons.

"The digital divide still is huge and it's growing. You can't compete in college if you aren't learning these computer-related skills now. Everything in college is computer-based," continued Mize, who teachers his students not only history and how it shapes the past, present and future, but also how to create 'dynamic' notes, embed links into their homework and projects, and other other tools expected in college classrooms.

"If you don't have 21st century skills, you are going to be left behind. It makes it difficult when kids don't have access at home," added the 45-year-old, who last year was named the Jesse Palmer Social Studies Educator of the Year and has been inducted into the state Social Studies Hall of Fame.

Anyone interested in donating a used laptop or tablet to Mize's effort can reach him at West Point High School or by e-mailing him at