Back to school shopping is a right of passage-- the students' way of gearing up for the year to come. But the necessities are turning from traditional to high-tech.
"Children are growing up in a world that is highly dependent on technology," says Ali Marchildren of Burlington.
Ben is heading into sixth-grade in Burlington this year, which means he gets a laptop to use in class. Schools call these one-to-one programs, and they are growing exponentially in Vermont. Of the 84,000 students in Vermont, 6,000 students had access to these tablets last year. And this year that number is closer to 20,000.
Some districts budget for these computers, others rely on groups like the Tarrant Foundation that grant the money to buy the tools and offer professional development for teachers.
"In the past they've held the information and their job is to share it effectively. What this really does is say in some cases it's not the information that's the commodity, it's still learning that's the commodity," says Lauren Curry with the Tarrant Foundation.
Curry says students are engaged with technology from the moment they wake up, and offering this kind of learning keeps them engaged in the classroom, too. So far the Tarrant Foundation has helped 12 schools.
"Technology is one of those things that helps us meet students where they are and based on who they are and how they choose to interact with the world," says Curry.
But before students can learn from the internet they have to learn about it.
"They really have changed the rules of the game," says Donna McAllister with the Department of Education.
Donna McAllister coordinates with health educators across the state. She says internet access has raised the bar in terms of access to health education resources.
"You get up-to-date information by accessing the Internet. Whereas textbooks frequently get outdated before they're printed let alone make it to the classrooms," she says.
In 2009 the state mandated comprehensive health education known as ACT ONE. It's focused on healthy relationships and identifying trusted adults. Now that the internet is at the student's fingertips, these conversations have become even more important.
"It's very hard. Kids are growing up much faster. They're growing up to a point because they're being exposed to things earlier, but that doesn't mean developmentally they can handle that exposure," McAllister says.
With exposure comes curiosity. Schools are giving them these tools and putting in safeguards but that's not enough. We've seen cases of indecent picture sharing at some schools and online harassment at others. Now teachers and parents have to educate students about these dangers and their consequences, while letting them practice in safe settings.
"If you don't teach them the benefit of the tablet and the hazards of the tablet and being online that will happen," says Lynda Reid of Burlington.
The rules around how kids use these tablets are known as safe and responsible use policies, and every school's is a bit different, but parents also play a big part in teaching kids about the dangers of sharing pictures and information online.
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:29 PM EST2014-03-09 02:29:17 GMT
A warning for pet owners in our region. Coyotes are on the prowl. A biologist in New Hampshire says he has received more than 10 calls recently, in the Keene, New Hampshire area, for a deer that was takenMore >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:21 PM EST2014-03-09 02:21:44 GMT
As spring approaches, many Vermont homeowners prepare to work on their houses - so they head to the Burlington Home Show. And many Vermont small business owners - with their products and services on displayMore >>
Many business owners at the Burlington Home Show say the new health care system in Vermont is helpful, but some say it's causing a real headache.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 8:07 PM EST2014-03-09 01:07:08 GMT
A rally at the State House in Montpelier Saturday. A passionate group of dozens of women, and men, assembled in front of the State House Saturday for the Women's March for Dignity. They were demandingMore >>
Women's March for Dignity say they are demanding lawmakers support paid sick day policies for all workers.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:21 AM EST2014-03-08 15:21:27 GMT
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries. They were injured while fighting a at the Bennett Farm on Route 15 on the Johnson-Cambridge town line. The fire started in a shed around 7:30 FridayMore >>
Two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:42 GMT
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury. They immediately took to Facebook after hearing about this fire and started planning to collectMore >>
Friends are rallying around families who lost everything in an apartment building fire in St. Johnsbury.More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:20 AM EST2014-03-08 15:20:05 GMT
Reporter: "What are some of the most common burn injuries that we see with kids coming into the hospital?" Jim Esdon, Dartmouth Hitchcock Injury Prevention Center: "This time of year, the glass frontedMore >>
We've had another cold week that's left homeowners cranking the heat. But what does that mean for kids' safety?More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 10:19 AM EST2014-03-08 15:19:21 GMT
Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions. "Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says. The rods crossingMore >>
A national organization based in Danville says it is providing resources to people in desperate need to find water.More >>