Computers are starting to show up in Indiana classrooms

INDIANAPOLIS — Take-home devices became the norm for many students in central Indiana at the start of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. But classroom computers weren’t always so common.

Forty years ago, WRTV reporter Karen Layton filed a series of reports documenting the arrival of computers in central Indiana schools.

Layton visited Washington Township Schools, which at the time claimed to be the leader in classroom computers. The district had its first microcomputer installed in 1975. Just 5 years later, Washington Township Schools had between 1 and 5 microcomputers installed in each of the district’s elementary schools.

Many teachers feared being replaced by the machines, but a computer scientist assured Layton that the technology was meant to support educators.

“I think computers are really ubiquitous,” Bonnie Smith said. “Everyone is going to use them. We use them in teaching, but not to replace the teacher.

Indiana had a head start when it came to computers in the classroom.

Layton reported that 42% of all school systems nationwide had at least one computer. But in Indiana, 55% of all school corporations had at least one computer.

One pundit summed it up nicely when he told Layton, “I think we’re on the brink of the computer revolution.”