Technology has had a substantial influence on studentsâ€™ lives, which has become increasingly evident in the growing number of iPods, iPads, Nooks, Kindles, and cellphones carried through City Highâ€™s hallways every day. Students our age are notorious for beingÂ part of a â€śgadget-addicted generation.â€ť
As a populace, we have become more reliant on technology in all aspects of our lives than any other generation before us. Communication would be impossible without computers, lives would be in shambles without cellphones, and even reading is becoming inconvenient without a tablet. These changes in technology, whether viewed as positive or negative, are rapidly transforming the way we function. The only apparent option for City High is to try and keep up.
Our district is making an admirable effort to modernize our school by blending and incorporating technology into our educational setting. Last year the state of Iowa received millions of dollars from a class action lawsuit against Microsoft, which provided the funding for our district to install SmartBoards and Elmos into many City High classrooms. Elmos are frequently put to good use in science and language classes because their use is so straightforward. They simply project and magnify information from worksheets onto the wall, so that the entire class can see it. On the other hand, SmartBoards are much more complicated devices. While they have potentially endless educational applications, not all teachers know where to start. More often than not, the SmartBoard is left unused and forgotten, as the class continues to learn from the more familiar chalkboards. However, thatâ€™s not to say that all teachers neglect this new piece of technology. SmartBoards have proven to be very useful in math classes, but we have rarely seen them effectively utilized in language or social studies settings.
Though The Little Hawk acknowledges that there will inevitably be problems with transitioning to new technology, we believe that the problem is made worse by the lack of tech support positions within the district. David Dude, the districtâ€™s Executive Director of Operational Resources, admits that we do not have enough tech support positions, or â€śpeople to train and users on how to get the most out of their systems.â€ť Our teachers havenâ€™t had enough help in incorporating new technology, such as SmartBoards, into their lessons. The district plans to create additional tech positions in our school soon, but until the promised help arrives our investment in this technology has been a waste.
Despite these issues, City High is pushing forward with further plans to distribute new technology. Vice Principal Terry Coleman is determined to see a one to one student to iPad or laptop ratio, within the next five years. The Little Hawk supports this. Issuing laptops or iPads to each and every student would revolutionize our educational capabilities, and potentially greatly improve our school. For example, the English department recently purchased Write Source Online, an online writing program, for $121,000. While the program has the potential to greatly benefit studentsâ€™ organization and writing, controversy arose when computer availability came into question. Not every student has access to a computer at home, a fact which reduces the usefulness of Write Source Online. If City High actually provided every student with their own personal iPad or laptop, these problems would be resolved. City Highâ€™s investment in pricey online programs would be more reasonable if all students were able to fully take advantage of these resources, anytime anywhere. Therefore, The Little Hawk supports this push for such a one to one ratio, despite the school districtâ€™s skepticism regarding this policy. If we want to be able to fully utilize the technology we purchase, our district needs to put its money where its mouth is, and back up our investment with effective tech support. The world of technology is permanently changing our school, and, if this technology is used to its full potential, these changes couldÂ lead to great improvement.