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Device Roll-Out Rolls Out

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Device Roll-Out Rolls Out

Jami Citko, staff

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This school year started with a few major changes: an extra five minutes, active shooter drills, and, arguably the biggest, personal touch-screen laptops for all students.  

As CHS students debate over these new additions, teachers also learn to navigate technical difficulties and new helpful programs as the devices are further implemented into their classrooms. 

Many teachers really like the fact that all students now have access to computers, both in school and out. Students have always been required to use the internet for various things, including research and writing, but not all had easy access to a computer in the past. 

“I like the idea of making sure that everyone’s on an equal footing,” English teacher Rachel Wilkinson expressed. “Students who are at an economic disadvantage are not being held back.” 

This has also made in-class computer use easier, for both students and teachers. 

“I no longer have to wait until there is a computer cart available…it’s so difficult to get into the labs,” said health teacher Nancy Bauer. 

Although students now have access to a computer 24/7, they do not always take advantage of the opportunity. Many teachers have had issues with getting students to bring their devices to class. 

“We’re now relying on our students 100% to be more responsible,” explained Mrs. Bauer. “I think the majority of our students are actually pretty responsible, but I still have students who won’t bring a pen or pencil to class, and now I’m asking them to carry a three-pound device.” 

This makes it hard on teachers if they have to change their lessons to accommodate students who don’t have their devices. 

“it’s hard because now you’re teaching two different lessons: a technology lesson and a non-technology lesson,” expressed social studies teacher Joel Brusewitz. 

Keeping students on-task when using the laptops in class has also been an issue; it is easy for one to abuse the power of the internet when it’s right in front of them. 

“Part of it is making sure that the teacher is keeping a close eye on making sure kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and making sure that the computers are clam-shelled when we move on to the next assignment,” science teacher Gina Palermo explained. 

The variety of uses, however, is not just a disadvantage. Teachers in various subjects have been able to use the devices in a variety of ways. English classes can quickly draft and peer review papers or practice vocabulary words. Science classes have fast access to research at any time and have even used sketching programs to draw models. 

“We’ll do warm up questions on them, we’ve done exit ticket questions on them, I can do some type of different assessment throughout the day so it gives me instant feedback rather than going through a bunch of papers,” Mrs. Palermo expressed.  

The aspect of using less paper is another plus. Schools have always used up a lot of paper, from tests to posters, notebooks to referrals. Now that the devices are taking over a huge chunk of activities, paper use has been significantly reduced. 

“It’s saved a lot of paper, which I think is good for the environment,” Mr. Brusewitz commented. 

In addition to saving paper, the devices also present other forms of innovation. 

“I think it’s a step in the right direction, I think it’s great,” Mr. Brusewitz expressed. “We’re finally catching up with the 21st century and how things operate in the real world.” 

Some teachers agree that the devices will better prepare students for the future and life beyond high school, including college and career. 

“We are trying to get our students ready to be that next generation of learners,” Mrs. Palermo explained. “When you go to a school, any school…you’re going to have to start doing stuff on the computer.” 

Advanced technology, however, is not always as helpful as it is designed to be. Many teachers have experienced difficulties with Wi-Fi and accessing web materials. 

“in one class, every time I use the devices in class, the internet’s down,” Ms. Wilkinson said. 

The county’s new grading system, Schoology, has also had some issues. 

“Schoology was down for me today, all day, so that was a problem,” English teacher Adriane Stewart expressed. 

Though the new implements are intended to make it easier for teachers and students to get to materials, in some cases it seems to be more difficult. Teachers have also had trouble getting used to the new system. 

“For someone like me, who is a little older, it’s a little bit overwhelming…here’s a huge learning curve for a lot of us, and I’m trying to buy in, but it’s going to take some time to get comfortable with,” Mrs. Bauer expressed. 

Many teachers felt just as unprepared as students when faced with this sudden change at the start of the school year. 

“I…prefer more time to learn things before I have to implement them…I did not feel that I got the opportunity to practice enough,” Dr. Stewart expressed. “I wish that there were more resources for us so that people don’t have to spend so much time in the middle of things trying to figure out how to do some basic tasks and what’s the best way and most efficient way to do them.” 

Some teachers also have their own ideas of ways distribution of the devices could have been handled, such as not giving each student their own personal laptop. 

“I would have loved if the county had allocated [the devices] by giving each teacher a cart with 30 or 35 computers on them so that they were accessible every day, every period. I think it would have taken a little bit of the burden off of everyone,” Mrs. Bauer described. 

Others don’t believe that giving a device to every student was necessary; some already own laptops that they could have used, which would have reduced the budget and time required for this new implementation. 

“I don’t like the idea that everyone is forced to use their devices because, to me, what would make sense is that if you don’t have a computer, in a quiet way they could go to the front office and request one,” Ms. Wilkinson expressed. 

While each method of distribution has its own pros and cons, the current system seems to be sticking, and it definitely isn’t all bad; some parts were satisfactory. 

“I think it was an amazing handling of the roll-out…that was a lot of stuff to do and I think it went very smoothly…they did an amazing job with getting those devices to everybody so quickly,” Dr. Stewart exclaimed. 

Despite all the setbacks, the convenience of the devices is undisputable, and they appear to be here to stay. With all students now on an equal footing in terms of resources, teachers must work through the technical difficulties to prepare each other for the future. 

Jami Citko, Staff

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Device Roll-Out Rolls Out