Lea County Students Using Upgraded Technology To Earn College Credit

By Wyatt Goolsby
NewsWest 9

JAL, NM - High school students in Lea County, New Mexico may have an easier time earning their college degree. The ITV or Interactive Television program has been around for years. However, as NewsWest 9 learned on Friday, upgraded technology is making classes that much better.

"It's a real nice program," Zachary Willis, a Jal High School Senior, said. "It helps for kids who really do want to go to college."

It's a new look, and new feel for Seniors in the ITV program at Jal High School. Nearly everything you see in their ITV room is brand new this semester. From computers, and equipment, to cameras, microphones, and monitors in the front and back.

"Before, we had just these solid, rickety tables basically. We didn't have these nice computers," Willis explained. "We had laptops that were fairly old."

"Last year, the teachers couldn't really see us that well, and now they can see us," Ariel Samaniego, a Jal High School Senior, added. "What we are doing, what we are eating."

Being able to see and hear better is the goal. Thanks to a nearly one million dollar total investment from both New Mexico Junior College, and an anonymous donor in Hobbs, high schools in Tatum, Lovington, Hobbs, Eunice, and Jal are taking advantage of the technology.

"The kids come in, the professor greets them. They greet back. The professor either lectures or asks them questions, and they are involved in discussions," Erika Valeriano, the ITV Classroom Monitor, explained. "So the kids are actually discussing among themselves, so they can answer the professor."

"You actually get to basically have a face-to-face conversation with a professor that's all the way, about 45 minutes north of us," Willis said.

Teachers say students can earn up to 54 college hours through programs like ITV, which can save time and money.

"It's just a good advantage for when you go to college because then you won't have to worry about taking these basic classes because you already have them done," Samaniego added.

While the professor may not be in the same room as the students, Willis said the classes will pay off in the long run.

"It also prepares you for the college experience," Willis said. "I enjoy it and it helps."