Kathy Sharpe's six-grade social studies class at Adams Middle School learns without the use of textbooks. Instead her students use netbooks, similar to small laptop computers.

Kathy Sharpe's six-grade social studies class at Adams Middle School learns without the use of textbooks. Instead her students use netbooks, similar to small laptop computers.

"I spent a lot of time researching a lot of different websites for the kids to go to and find information," Sharpe said. "Basically they have to find the information and then we go over it in class."

Sharpe traded books for technology after receiving a local grant at the end of the 2010 school year for 25 netbooks.

This is the first year she's taught with them as her main teaching tool.

"I can find the information. I can send the kids to the right place," Sharpe said. "When they search and find the information themselves, they seem to learn it a lot better than if the information is just given to them.

"They take more of an ownership of what they are doing," she said.

Sharpe said her class textbooks "don't actually meet the state standards. It's kind of hit or miss" so she saves a lot of time "sorting out the information" she needs.

Sharpe said netbooks make her job easier and help her students retain information they go over in class.

Student Andrew Sayer said even though it was "overwhelming at first," he's learning better with netbooks.

He said it's easier to gather information for class discussion topics compared to a textbook.

"It gives you many sources of information rather than one source from a book," Sayer said.

Savannah Steele, also in Sharpe's class, agrees.

"You get different perspectives on life and events in time, while in a book you only get one perspective that's been edited," Steele said.

Sharpe believes it's those different viewpoints that help keep her students interested.

"I think the students are engaged. They are so much more engaged in their learning with the netbooks than with the textbooks," Sharpe said.

She said her students also can learn a hands-on approach compared to pencil and paper.

When studying Egypt, Sharpe said her students could take a virtual tour of the pyramids, float down the Nile River and learn how to mummify things.

"They enjoy it so much more," Sharpe said. "When they find something they get so excited."

Because students are so adept to playing on computers and video games, Sharpe said the netbooks have become an integral part of learning in her class.

She said she makes sure her students attribute website pages so she knows exactly where they received their information.

Sharpe said the only real problem with netbooks is grading assignments because "if they type up a report we have to make sure it's printed."

Sharpe said she's also working on a drop box application where students "just drop their information into my computer and I can read it from my computer."

After 34 years in the education field, Sharpe said she's never teaching with just textbooks again.