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North Rowan has the touch

Laurels to some high-tech high fives for North Rowan High School. Bill Harrison, chairman of the N.C. State Board of Education, visited the school this week in recognition of North being named one of 10 innovators in digital learning around the state. This is a strong show of support for the school’s iPod Touch program, launched in 2008 with the goal of giving every student one of the digital devices to facilitate classroom and out-of-class learning. The program has now moved on to iPads — an example of how quickly technology evolves — and teachers have enthusiastically endorsed the initiative, which received aid from the Golden LEAF and Blanche & Julian Robertson foundations. As Harrison noted, interactive technologies have the potential to transform how students learn by more directly engaging young minds so that they’re “the ones doing the thinking.”

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Dart to the flu bug, which is hitting especially hard this year in the Carolinas. N.C. health officials say this is the worst flu season in a decade. Thus far, the state has recorded 14 flu-related deaths, and clinics are filled with people suffering from fevers, aches and other symptoms. If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, health experts say it’s still worth considering, especially for older residents. While flu season may be peaking early, it typically drags on into March.

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Laurels to UNC-Chapel Hill and other N.C. colleges for another good showing in Kiplinger’s annual ranking of the best values in higher education. Chapel Hill once again topped the list of public institutions. Other state colleges winning recognition were N.C. State, the UNC School of the Arts, UNC-Wilmington, Appalachian State and UNC-Asheville. Among private institutions, Duke, Elon, Wake Forest and Davidson showed up on the best-value lists. As Kiplinger noted, however, rising college costs are a serious concern. At Chapel Hill, grads typically have college-loan debt of $17,525, while Duke grads owe $21,713.

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