Technology in the classroom: how early should it start?

A student logs into a network on an iPad in school. (WISH Photo)

FISHERS, Ind (WISH) – A group of parents is asking Hamilton Southeastern School (HSE) leaders to delay its plan of having the youngest students use tablets.

These devices are nothing new to HSE classrooms. Students work on group projects, read books and do homework assignments with them.

But they’re about to be new to HSE kindergarten through fourth grade students.

“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Fishers resident Kathy Huffman said. “The girls, my granddaughters, already know how to use the iPads and by the time they get to school I think they’re going to have to use them to be current.”

But not everyone agrees. Matthew Molter, and his wife Emilie, don’t want their first grader to be required to have one.

“It’s not that we’re anti-technology,” Molter said. “It’s not that we don’t love our teachers and our school administrators, but there’s a question about implementation.”

Molter turned to social media. He created a Facebook page about the issue, and a petition about this has more than 200 signatures.

“We thought we were all alone,” Molter said. “So we had no idea there were other people out there concerned, other people worried.”

HSE leaders created the plan four years ago. Time to pick a device, and show teachers how to incorporate them in the classroom.

It also held 12 meetings with parents, and there’s a pilot program in more than 20 kindergarten through fourth grade classrooms.

Parents are going to have to pick up the bill for the tablets. They can either buy their student one, or they can pay to rent it for the year.

Right now, the fee is $125. But with more students required to have them, the district is considering lowering it to $90.

For Molter, cost is a concern. But he’d mainly like the district to wait a little longer before he has to place a tablet into his little one’s hands.

“If we can work together to get this right, it’s going to be better for everybody that’s involved,” Molter said.

The district isn’t planning to hold any more meetings, but if anyone is concerned, they can email, sloane@hse.k12.in.us

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