Technology policies must evolve

Shorewood’s current outlook on technology use in the classroom is outdated and not giving students the knowledge to help them become responsible technology users in college and in the world of work.

There does not seem to be an opportunity to use technology in class to enhance lectures and assignments. In fact, many teachers have recently banned all technology use, their new rules stemming from research articles that circulated among the faculty in August stating how cell phones distract students from learning.

Yes, we need reasonable rules against texting or using social media in class. However, many teachers seem to have interpreted these articles to mean all technology is distracting, a conclusion that puts students at a disadvantage when learning. On the first day of school, some teachers announced policies against students’ laptops, tablets and cell phones even being out during class. Other teachers require special permission from a parent or counselor in order for such devices to be used, leaving only a few teachers who allow students to take notes on their computer or tablet and interact with other students and the teacher using programs such as Google Drive, Evernote and simple PowerPoints.

Shorewood is meant to be a college preparatory high school. We model a college atmosphere with an open campus and rigorous academics. However, in almost all colleges throughout the U.S. technology is a major component of the classroom. We cannot call ourselves college preparatory if most teachers will not allow students the use of computers to take notes in the classroom. By not using technology like this now, we are defeating the purpose of high school, which is meant to be a place to learn and train for college.

In addition, last year, Shorewood become a “Google school,” meaning it uses a new Google Apps for Education (GAFE) program. In a previous Ripples article about this new program, Tim Kenney said, “as time goes on, you’re going to see less pencil and paper and more collaborative workspaces in cyberspace.” However, there does not seem to be a continued effort by the administration or teachers to continue this transition to a technologically savvy school.

Many teachers say that one of the reasons they don’t allow technology in the classroom is because students will spend time texting one another or on other social media. Although some students may choose to abuse a privilege like this, the majority would not. Furthermore, those who do will suffer the consequences of not paying attention or taking notes in class. It is not the teacher’s job to police them and make sure that they are on task. We are in high school, not second grade. If students do not wish to learn, it is not up to the teacher to make them.

The school as a whole needs to reassess how we see technology, and realize that the fact many teachers are not allowing the use of it in the classroom is putting Shorewood students at a disadvantage by not preparing them for life after high school. It is important that we, as a progressive district, realize that both students and teachers need to adapt to the use of technology in the 21 century world, because it’s not going away.

by Eder you like it or not (Katie Eder)

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