Shawnee Mission School District goes from heavy text books to hi-tech

SHAWNEE, Kan. — Put away the pen and paper; students in the Shawnee Mission School District are going hi-tech in their classrooms.

RELATED: Shawnee Mission School District goes digital

Freshman orientation is a scary and exciting time; finding your way around, meeting new friends and getting a laptop.  But not just any laptop, all 420 freshman students at Shawnee Mission Northwest are getting a new 13-inch MacBook Air.

“I was really excited about it. It’s a pain carrying around these huge books and stuff but now we have it all in this,” said Jared Berlin, who just got his.

Berlin has never had a MacBook before and says it’s a huge relief from having to lug around school books to and from home.

“On a good night, it’s about one or two. But sometimes it ends up I just have to take my whole locker home,” he said.

All high school students will receive a MacBook. Students in third through eighth grade will get a take-home IPad. Kindergarten through second grade will get to use iPads in school.

“Instead of taking students to the technology and checking out the lab time, this will be available in the classroom to support students and teachers during whatever learning activity,” said Christy Ziegler, the Director of Technology.

This is part of a $20 million investment to create a digital learning classroom. Both students and parents will be taught how to care for devices. Even though students get to take home these MacBooks, it doesn’t mean they have free reign.

“We have filtering systems in place. We do have that in place as part as federal and state requirements to make sure we are filtering for inappropriate content,” Ziegler said.

But Berlin says having certain restrictions on his laptop doesn’t bother him at all. He intends to use it properly.

“At school, using it for my textbooks, homework, writing assignments I have. At home, maybe I can browse the internet or maybe I can go on YouTube,” said Berlin.

Each freshman will keep their laptops until they graduate. The district will slowly distribute the devices through September.


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