One of the most controversial topics between the students and the teachers at Juniata Valley High School is whether or not the advancements in technology has helped in the education industry. JV is made up of both new teachers who grew up with technology almost always surrounding them, and more senior teachers who taught students when the only form of technology available to them was projectors.
JVHS welcomed Chromebooks and a 1:1 implementation two years ago, which changed the face of education within the school. With this addition came new apps and platforms like Peardeck, Canvas and Google Drive. For some these were welcomed changes, and for others, it was a source of frustration.
A recent survey conducted with grades 7-12 of over 100 students gleaned many interesting findings in regards to technology. Nearly 83 percent of students said that having Chromebooks in school has made completing their classwork better and several shared their reactions.
“I like being able to just pull my Chromebook out of my backpack whenever I need to search something up for a class. It is also really easy to submit essays,” explained Karley Ieraci, a sophomore at JV.
Even though the addition of Chromebooks in JV has made some of the students’ lives easier, other students feel as though Chromebooks have made their life more difficult. “I think having a Chromebook is stressful. The internet does not always work and submitting homework is always a hard task to accomplish. I wish we could just go back to paper,” explained senior Hope Lowe.
Teachers are also involved in the debate on whether or not the advancement of technology has been a good thing or a bad thing. Those who have taught at JV whenever students did not really have cell phones, and whenever there was no need to set up their computer to their projector, generally express negative feelings towards the subject.
“I think that technology has made it harder at times for older teachers,” explained science teacher Mike Smith. “If you have been teaching for 25 or 30 years, it may be a little more difficult to learn how to use technology because those teachers were not brought up using modern technology when they were in high school or college.”
However, other teachers feel that the advancement in technology has been a good thing. Teacher Bill Musser stated that, “the advancement has been a positive for the education of the students and technology has made the grading process much more efficient.”
Art teach Ann Rahoi also commented: “I feel that for the most part, technology has been a positive for students. It has opened up students to a vast world of resources. We now incorporate technology into lessons every day without having to schedule a lab or give it much thought.”
Disciplinary wise the Chromebooks add one more things teachers have to be conscientious of. Teachers have to constantly check if the students are using their Chromebooks in an educational way or not. But, as teacher Andra Minor stated: “Monitoring Chromebooks is pretty much the same thing as walking around the room to check in on students. The benefit of the Chromebook is everything the students do and everywhere they visit is logged, so if I feel a student isn’t using it properly I ask the tech office to check in.”
Some students reported in the survey that they face struggles with submitting homework assignments online. Approximately 52.1 percent of JV students would rather do homework on paper than on their chromebooks. An anonymous quote from a JV student from the survey explained: “I believe pen and paper is better. Our technology helps with research and studying techniques, but notes are my favorite form of working.”
Meanwhile, another anonymous student reported: “I like being more paperless. I know all of my assignments are saved in my computer and I can’t lose things. It has helped me be more organized.”
Outside of Chromebooks, other forms of technology like smart phones are also making an impact in classrooms and not always for the good. Many teachers report that students are easily distracted by their phones in class. “I dislike having cellphones in class,” commented Smith. “It has become a major distraction for students. It makes teaching very difficult at times,” explained Smith.
On the other hand, some teachers like Musser don’t report many issues with cellphones. “Most of the students respect me as a teacher when I request the cell phones to be put away,” he explained.
In the survey completed by the JV students, 26.6 percent of the students admitted to sneaking their phones in class while 89.7 percent of students said that they do not find any of their technology distracting in class. This bodes well for the teachers.
Some teachers also reported that technology can foster cheating in class and on assignments. Different websites, and PDFs, are sometimes an avenue for students to copy work. They are able to easily get on these links with their phones and Chromebooks to find worksheets and test answers. In light of this, many teachers still give assessments the old fashioned way: on paper.
The one thing it seems teachers and students can all agree on is that technology has changed how the average school day functions. Everyone use technology and incorporates it the best way they know how.
In the education industry, technology is now always changing and advancing. For some people, it is hard to grasp new concepts, but for others, it is exciting to learn about new apps and different forms of technology. With the ever changing world we live in today, who knows what the next advancements and reactions will be.