Keyboarding lessons are more exciting at Dickson Lower Elementary thanks to purchases made with county sales tax dollars.

Called a Neo2, the device is a full keyboard with a small screen. Programs include Accelerated Reader tests, keyboarding practice and math facts. Eventually, students will be able to use the devices to respond to teacher questions during class.

Each second-grader has their own device. It is kept in a cubby in the classroom.

The devices were issued to the second-graders because in third grade, they will have to know how to type in order to take state-mandated tests.

The Neo2 is already helping students develop this important skill.

"It's all the same keys. I don't type fast, but this helps," Hunter Mitts says.

Classrooms have no more than four computers, so usually students read a book, then wait on a computer to be free to take the AR test.

With the Neo2, students can take their test immediately after they finish reading a book.

"It's easier than a computer. A computer is a little bit harder because we can't sit at our desk and we have to push more buttons to start," Lathaniel Ramsey explains.

Students have already begun to take AR tests on the devices, which has been a learning process in and of itself.

"It's different because I have to put in the quiz number of the book," Mitts says. "It's harder because these books (in the classroom) don't have the quiz number on them, but library books do."

However, other differences make testing easier.

"It's easier to use A, B, C, D. On a computer, you use a mouse. Now, you can't click the wrong one," Kadyn Watterson explains.