ROANOKE CO., Va. -

Eleven years ago, Roanoke County Schools decided to give laptops to every high school student.

It was somewhat controversial then, but it's become the norm now for schools across the country.

Right now, Roanoke County is looking to stay on the leading edge of the technology education curve.

These days, some classrooms look more like factories and news studios than where students learn.

A conference for school administrators today was meant to show off all the technological goings-on in classrooms.

"The 21st Century is here, I mean we're not getting ready for the 21st century, we're actually in it right now," Roanoke County Schools Superintendent Lorraine Lange says.

"If you can hook them into these things at a younger age, obviously that's going to benefit us in the long run," said technology education teacher Shawn Burns.

"I think that's how our children are learning today, and they love this, this is a way of engaging them," added Sherry Bryant.

Lange's buzzword of choice when talking describing technology initiatives; innovation.

"When people talk about technology, it's just not a laptop, there are just so many good things going on that we're trying to expose our students to so that they learn to use it and create something with it," Lange said.

The technology is nothing without creators, and that's the purpose of having 3D printers, green screens, drones and robots in classrooms as early as elementary school.

The theory: get them started early, and it exposes them to think about and improve the jobs of the future.

"Technology and 3D printers are going to change the world," Lange said, "There's no doubt in my mind."

Teachers and administrators shuffled from classroom to classroom at Cave Spring Middle School seeing how other schools are introducing the technology of the future.

Presentations were delivered by the very teachers who use these programs.  Robotics teacher Shawn Burns says everything crosses over.

"You look at the fact that there's robotics in these different fields like I talked about; manufacturing, transportation, technology, they're there," Burns said.

The hope is that by seeing what other schools are doing, that will propel administrators to think critically about this technology and put it in front of students.

"I'm hoping that it's going to light a fire and you're going to see what somebody else is doing in a school, and you're going to want to do that too," said Lange.

Is the next Bill Gates or Albert Einstein in a Roanoke County classroom?

Maybe, but you won't know unless you let students try.

Big tech companies paid for the retreat.

Those companies on board with Roanoke County, looking for any way they can to foster more desire for jobs of the future today.