CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - This fall, every high school student in the Cedar Rapids School District will get a laptop to use for school.
But it's not as simple as just giving out computers.
Teachers have to do a lot of work to do to be ready to teach in the digital age. Now, the tech department is processing 5,700 Chromebooks, which can flip over to double as a tablet.
“It is really going to transform the educational experiences for our students,” said Ryan Rydstrom, associate director of access and instructional design at the Cedar Rapids School District.
Teachers had two and a half days of digital literacy training to prepare for how to use them in lesson plans. In the fall, students will learn how to use G-mail, the Google suite, among other digital literacy tools.
The computers have parental locks to block illicit websites.
Parents will also be on the hook if something breaks.
Teachers say it’s become an essential cost to teaching kids who grew up with technology, and will work much better than the current system.
“Instead of having to share and reserve and hope you can get a computer, teachers will have access to computers for all their students at all times,” said Jason Kline, principal at Kennedy High School.
The district is also getting new email addresses.
Instead of the lengthy domain name, emails now simply end with ‘crschools.us.’ It's part of a free Google Apps package that also opens up tools for students.
Tools the district hopes sets up students for the future.
“Our hope is that we will be able to fulfil the promise of every learner future ready, so due to the computers students will have a choice of their plan or a path or a passion now,” said Rydstrom.
The district is also working on a program to provide internet access for students who don't have it at home.