The classroom will be anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection when Crawfordsville High School students receive a laptop this week.

The devices are being rolled out through an initiative putting a computer in the hands of every student, making it easier to stay connected with teachers away from school.

School officials say access to the devices puts Crawfordsville on an equal playing field with the county’s other schools, which provide students with a laptop or tablet. 

“We were in on the ground floor a while ago,” Crawfordsville Community Schools technology director Doug Lengerich said, noting the middle school was among the first in the state to adopt a 1:1 technology initiative. Laptops are still used at the middle school, but students cannot take the computers home.

Using their Google Chromebook, students will be able to work with groups on presentations and access other content related to the subject.

How teachers make use of the computers will vary depending on the class: An English and language arts teacher, for instance, may arrange an online author visit. Each laptop cost the school $242.

Students in grades 6-12 already have access to assignments and other class materials through an online portal. Parents can also track their child’s grades and attendance online. 

While developing the policy earlier this year, Crawfordsville administrators met with students at Ben Davis University High School, which provides a Chromebook to each child. A student-led team known as the “Nerd Herd” responds to technical glitches with the devices. Lengerich said Crawfordsville hopes to start a similar program depending on scheduling and curriculum needs.

There are currently no plans to provide every student in grades K-5 with a computer, but laptops previously used in the high school will be distributed to Hoover and Nicholson, Lengerich said.

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