More technological gadgets make their way into schools

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis.(WEAU) - In this day and age it's hard to talk about schools and education without mentioning the word 'technology'.

With the new school year finally in session many school districts are integrating more and more gadgets that have never been seen before.

Thursday, Chippewa Falls High School gave out more than 300 Google Chromebooks to their entire freshman class. But as technology policies in schools continue to expand, Chi-Hi is only one of many districts that are keeping up with the times.

“We're moving towards technology based society,” said Chippewa Falls Media Director Scott Kowalski.

Dominic Marticorena is one of the Chi-Hi freshmen who got a Chromebook today. He says the device will help speed up his homework, and be more efficient with his school work.

“It almost replaces all the books; it's just one small source for just so much information,” said Marticorena.

Kowalski says after looking at the pros and cons of the program they found the benefits won out.

“Our 10th-12th graders do have ‘bring your own device’ program, where if they have their own device at home and they want to bring it into school they can do it,” said Kowalski.

And that's the policy the Altoona School District is exploring.

“We talk about students being digital natives. It's part of their lives,” said Altoona 's Superintendent Connie Biedron.

Biedron says her district is always trying to expand technology use.

“We do have a policy on the books right now that allows high school teacher the discretion to let student use their smart phones in the classes as needed,” explained Biedron.

The district has Chromebooks for in-class use only, iPads and smart boards. The challenge is to find the best device for each grade level. Biedron says for example, iPads work well with K-2nd grade.

“We wanted to provide those tools to our students to prepare them for the world they're going to be living in moving forward,” said Kowalski.

And Biedron agrees, as long as districts can insure that technology advances and not distracts.

“That's always a concern and I think you teach part of technology is teaching students when to use it and how to use it appropriately,” added Biedron.

Both Altoona and Chippewa Falls school districts say they are going to closely monitor their new devices and the way they are used in classes. They hope that will help them make better decisions and then will help advance and improve their technology programs in the future.

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