NEW PALESTINE — Chris Young’s goal as a middle school science teacher was to make his classroom the place students wanted to be.

He always tried to find the latest innovative ways to teach students at Doe Creek Middle School, he said.

Now, as the district’s education technology expert, working with kindergarten through 12th grade students for Southern Hancock schools, his goal remains the same — keep kids engaged.

Young recently returned from a three-day visit to Washington, D.C., where he took part in the Google for Education Innovator Program.

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The program is marketed toward educators who are passionate about learning more about using technology, especially the Google suite, in the classroom. Those who participate must apply and be accepted into the program.

Young is one of only 37 educators from the United States and Canada who took part. The educators worked with six Google team leaders whose goal was to determine the best use of electronic devices in the classrooms.

When he first got to the Google offices, Young was excited to be associated with Google and for the learning opportunity, he said.

By the time he left, he said he realized the program’s intent was to build relationships and teach educators to put their heads together to solve classroom issues.

“It was incredibly inspirational and exciting,” Young said. “I was so happy I (went), and to be able to come back and take what I’ve learned and apply it to our district is what I’m looking forward to.”

His goal now is to set up learning models to be an example for district educators and perhaps throughout the state, he said.

“In education, the term is ‘best practices’ — we want to make sure that is what we are doing. But in my role, I’m always looking for ‘next practices,’” Young said.

District officials said they realize the importance of being at the forefront of technology in education and are thrilled Young is always seeking new programs about the latest technology in the classroom.

Southern Hancock has been leading the way in transforming instruction by using electronic devices, Superintendent Lisa Lantrip said in an email to the Daily Reporter.

Lantrip knows integrating digital tools in the classroom is an important aspect in continuing to improve instruction and support student learning.

She supports Young in his work.

“His selection to the program is testimony to his skill in the use of technology as well as his ability to teach others how to use it to enhance student learning,” she wrote.

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Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or kdeer@greenfieldreporter.com.