Shriya Penmetsa | Staff Editor

Seventh graders aren’t just carrying around their smart phones anymore. As a result of a school wide policy, all seventh graders are mandated to have Chromebooks to help with their learning.

According to seventh grader Megan Dincler, having a Chromebook has reduced the load she has to carry around school.

“You don’t have as many worksheets and papers you have to carry around,” Dincler said. “I think it’s easier using the Chromebooks.”

Spanish teacher Amanda Chmiel said that the use of Chromebooks has reduced her students’ physical work load, said Spanish teacher Amanda Chmiel.

“They do not have to carry a binder around anymore,” Chmiel said. “It’s definitely reduced the amount that they have to carry.”

Having Chromebooks has opened more doors for her seventh grade classes, Chmiel said.

“It’s given students more ways to be in charge of their own learning,” Chmiel said. “They can easily go online if they don’t understand something and do a little research. It’s opened up more ways for them to see different cultures.”

According to Chmiel, she prefers teaching with Chromebooks over traditional teaching. The Chromebooks help her do online activities and help her students do research about different cultures, Chmiel said.

“I actually like the chromebooks a little more,” Chmiel said. “With the seventh graders, if I want to do something cultural, it’s super simple because they have their chromebooks right there.”

According to principal Tonya McCall, one of the reasons for the switch is financial. The school purchased the Chromebooks for a highly discounted price of $300. The students purchased the Chromebooks from the school for $200.

“Last year we determined that instead of replacing some of computers that were due to be replaced, we would take that money and shift it into this,” McCall said. “If we had kids make a purchase or lease a device, we’d have enough money for every seventh grader to have an actual device.”

The goal for the Chromebooks is to be a tool for the teachers and students to use, McCall said.

“It’s not that all of your instructions (are) on the technology,” McCall said. “The goal is that this is just one more tool that a teacher and students can use to effectively complete the instructional goals.”

In the next couple years, Mason City Schools wants to get into a district wide one-to-one initiative with technology, McCall said.

“Within the next three years, we’d hope district wide from grades four to twelve, they’ll have technology,” McCall said. “Whether (that’s) a Chromebook or whatever the latest piece of technology may be.”