• Last modified 3614 days ago (Sept. 24, 2009)


Ill student can attend class through Skype

Managing editor

Imagine being 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, and unable to attend classes because of an illness.

Thane Hurst of Hillsboro is recovering from a second surgery to remove tumors from his spinal cord. Although the surgery was successful, Thane continues to recover at home.

He has physical therapy nearly every day and is regaining his strength but it is taking a while. It is difficult for Thane to sit in a classroom all day, or even for one class.

Enter modern technology.

With the distribution of laptop computers to each Hillsboro High School student and teacher this year, Thane is able to use software application Skype for face-to-face meetings with teachers and for class.

There are a few bugs to work out of the system but school officials and Thane are confident the program will be a tremendous asset.

There is a webcam and microphone in each laptop. Teachers can call Thane through the laptop and include him in class discussions. Thane can see the teacher and hear the class.

If he has a question or comment, Thane can participate with the class.

“The program was available and incredibly easy to install,” said Jason Henry, the school’s information technology director.

Thane’s teachers continue to use e-mail and parents pick up homework assignments at school, but Skype will keep Thane as part of the class.

“It gives students a feeling of being a part of the class,” Dennis Boldt, business and computers teacher said.

A test run was conducted Friday with Boldt calling Thane through Skype.

So, what does Thane think about this?

“I like it,” he said. “I can actually ask teachers questions. It will help with my homework.”

“It’s easier to communicate being able to see Thane,” Boldt said.

The service is available through a TEEN fiber optic line.

Another student also will benefit from the program when he is able.

Last modified Sept. 24, 2009