EL PASO, Texas –

In 2015 the El Paso Independent School District took on a huge challenge.

The district checked out 20,000 laptops to high school students and left them in their care.

ABC-7 took a look at how the students have benefited from the devices.

“From the logistics side, as far as the distribution it was beautiful, it was a great experience,” said EPISD Chief of Technology Steve Stiles.

Stiles was referring to the first day high school students checked out their laptops in 2015.

“For some of the students, it was the first time they held a laptop,” Stiles said.

Stiles said the students were quick to put the laptops to work. “I can look in the classrooms, and I can see them fired up and they’re are using them.”

Teachers have also praised the decision to hand out the laptops.

“What this means to the student has been phenomenal,” Stiles told ABC-7.

With so many used to traditional books and chalkboards, what is it about the laptops that clicks for students?

“The whole point of technology and education is to engage a student. That’s what technology does better than anything else,” Stiles said.

With tracking devices attached to the portable PCs, they know the students are keeping them on hand everywhere they go.

“Literally hundreds have gone out of the El Paso area which tells me that they are important to the student,” Stiles said.

Laptops given to students are expected to stay with them during their four years in high school.

Students got to keep the laptops through the summer and it could be their first test of responsibility.

“Next week we are starting again and we’ll see what has come back,” Stiles said.

The checkout of laptops is similar to books. If a student loses a laptop, they are held responsible for the cost, which depends on how long the student has had the laptop.