TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - Tippecanoe School Corporation students are getting started in the world of technology early with Chromebooks. The corporation has spent the past week handing out new Chromebooks to middle and high school students.
On Friday, students in Mrs. Rivas's 6th grade science class at Wea Ridge Middle School found their seats, looked at the board and opened their Chromebooks.
"Every year I'm finding new and new resources that we can use in the classroom," said Rivas.
It's called the 1 to 1 Initiative. Starting in 6th grade, students get Chromebooks to use in class. This is the 10th year of the program, and while technology may have evolved over that decade, the goal remains the same.
"Technology is engrained in so much of what we do here at TSC," said Devin Arms, Director of Technology for TSC. "The evolution has been tremendous and now it's like I said it's critical to what our teachers and students do on a daily basis."
Beth Rivas has been an educator for 17 years. She remembers the days when integrating technology into her curriculum was difficult, having to reserve a computer lab and carve out special times of the day for to use the lab. Now, it's all at her student's fingertips. She said using technology in the classroom is all about balance.
"It doesn't take the place of the hands on interaction that I think that the students need and that we want and the paper pencil things are still important but it's definitely an excellent supplemental piece," she said. "There's a lot of resources."
"We just assume that kids come to us knowing how to use technology because they've grown up with it," said Arms. "But what we've learned is that the way they use technology at home is very different from how we want them to use it at school."
Alleigh Dutton is an 8th grader at Wea Ridge Middle School. She remembered how exciting it was to be treated more grown up when she was a 6th grader, getting a locker and getting her Chromebook. The teachers work to make sure students know how to navigate the internet properly.
"A lot of teachers do prepare you to find reliable resources and primary sources and those are really important to find because it's breaking down what's real and what's not true," she said.
The Chromebooks are helpful tools for students to use in the classroom, but they are also a responsibility. The students have to bring the Chromebooks fully charged every day and keep them in good condition while at home. Dutton said she liked being able to have access to Canvas, a learning management platform used at TSC where students can access and turn in homework. Research skills are not the only important life skills being taught through this program.
"We had a Chromebook boot camp day to try to go over things like how do you email a teacher, how do you use it responsibly," said Rivas.
The end goal: prepare this technology-savvy generation for its future.
"I just hope that they can not only learn to be responsible in technology but just responsible, productive citizens and be happy," she said.
The Chromebooks TSC 6th graders received this year are brand new. Parents pay a technology fee over the course of their student's schooling to help pay for the Chromebooks. Students are given a brand new Chromebook at the start of their freshman year, which if they graduate, they get to keep.