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All freshmen at college to get laptops

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CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) — Albertson College of Idaho selected Hewlett-Packard Co. on Wednesday to begin providing laptop computers to incoming freshmen.

The California-based company was selected over five others for the program that will give the 345 freshmen at the liberal arts school new computers during orientation this summer and replace them with updated models at the end of their sophomore year.

"This is not about turning everyone into engineers," Hewlett-Packard Chairman Carly Fiorina said during the announcement. "Technology is becoming part of the fabric of our lives. Those who don't embrace it will be left behind."

The computers are part of the private college's $1.7 million computerization initiative that also included retooling the 43-acre campus for wireless computing and replacing all other computers with Internet-accessible presentation equipment. The cost of the laptops is included in student tuition, College President Kevin Learned said.

"The use of laptop computers will enhance traditional education by making learning more student-centered, more interactive, more oriented to problem solving and more engaging to students who are already computer literate," Learned said. "The program will help connect our entire college community and equip our students for life beyond the campus."

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne said the announcement was no surprise since Albertson College is on the leading edge of liberal arts schools in America.

"If we can harness the creativeness of young people through technology, tremendous things will begin to happen.," he said. "Here on the Silicon Plateau, we're excited about this, and we have plenty of power here."