In the last few years, local schools have upgraded internet capabilities, increased book fees and applied for grants to be able to put a laptop or tablet in every student’s hand.
But not Greenwood schools, and officials say that is a purposeful decision.
The school district has been buying some devices to be used in classrooms every year, including a $400,000 lease agreement this year to buy about 400 devices, Greenwood schools assistant superintendent Todd Pritchett said.
With what the school district has purchased in recent years, Greenwood schools has enough devices to have classroom sets for each grade and has nearly enough for every student, Superintendent Kent DeKoninck said.
But that isn’t what school officials want to do, DeKoninck said.
Greenwood school officials have made that decision with intention for multiple reasons, he said.
One of the big reasons is cost.
The price gets too expensive for parents when the school needs to buy and replace devices as needed when every student gets one and often takes them home, he said.
DeKoninck looked at other school districts, including Avon schools, where he worked before coming to Greenwood, where each parent paid a fee of $125 per year for their students’ devices, he said. In other local school districts, including Center Grove and Indian Creek, parents’ school fees have increased to pay for each student to have a device.
“Replacing those devices has to come from the district or parents; we try to reduce that cost to us and parents,” DeKoninck said.
Another issue is whether giving each student their own laptop or tablet is really worth the cost, he said.
Greenwood students are allowed to bring their own devices, such as their smartphones, to class, and many are more comfortable using those than they would be with something else, he said.
And research is mixed on whether giving students their own device really correlates with student achievement, he said.
“It is a financial question: do we really get the bang for our buck for student learning?” he asked.
Here is a look at what schools provide their students with in technological devices:
iPads are given to high school and middle school students, and elementary classrooms have enough devices for each child to use daily.
Students at Whiteland Community High School were recently given Chromebooks
Every student in grades 3-12 is given a laptop.
Every high school, middle school and intermediate school student has a Chromebook.
Students can bring their own devices, and the school has enough devices for classrooms to use.
Students from grades 3-12 have laptops or iPads given to them from the school district.