1982: Computers begin appearing in Indiana classrooms

Posted at 5:33 AM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 05:33:58-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Take-home devices became the norm for many students in central Indiana at the onset 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, said it was the leader of havingcomputers in the classroom. The district had its first microcomputer installed in 1975. Just 5 years later, Washington Township Schools had anywhere from 1 to 5 microcomputers installed at each of the district’s elementary schools.

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

“I think that computers are really pervasive,” Bonnie Smith said. “Everyone’s going to be using them. We’re using them in instruction, but not to replace the teacher.”

Indiana was ahead of the curve when it came to computers in the classroom.

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

One expert summed it up best, telling Layton, “I think we’re on the brink of the computing revolution.”