Technology Is Taking Over!

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

The technological advancements in Chatham High School from the 2014-2015 school year to the 2015-2016 school year have been tremendous. All information, updates, and assignments for students are accessible in just the click of a button. After speaking with a few students and teachers it seems to be very helpful for most to use but on the other hand a bit overwhelming for others to get use to.

Practically all students’ homework is now online or can be accessed from the site “Schoology.” Schoology was implemented last school year and has been a very effective way for students to access their upcoming assignments and projects. The site is also very useful because the schools clubs and activities are now run from Schoology, which makes it much easier for students and club advisors to keep everyone updated when meetings, events and other activities are going to occur. The format of schoology is very similar to what a Facebook page would look like: you have a homepage with updates from the whole school, a section for notifications from your teachers, and different pages that show your classes, clubs and activities. There is even a messaging part of the site. I was able to ask Junior class Secretary, PJ Joel, and he told me a bit about what he thought of schoology in Chatham High School. PJ said, “I like Schoology because all of my classes and assignments are in one spot and it just makes it really easy to access my work.” But for some of the incoming freshman in our school Schoology tends to be a bit overwhelming and tough to get used to considering that Schoology was not used in the middle school. Freshman Matty Saluti said, “Schoology can be an inconvenience sometimes because we have never used it before and I don’t like having to check for my homework online.” But overall, the use of Schoology in Chatham High in the past two years has been a pretty positive impact for most students but for some it can be a bit tougher to handle at times with all the different features the program holds.

Something new that has been implemented into a few math courses this year is the online homework program. Instead of students getting written sheets or problems out of a book they are now assigned to a website, “Mathxlforschool.com”, to do there problems in. The main flaw of the website is that when you get a problem wrong it does count against your grade in the end. This makes it tough for some students considering that it is very likely to enter the answer in wrong due to the tricky format. Or for some they may just simply not understand the problem at that point in time which makes it a bit frustrating not being able to go over it in class like you normally could for a written homework. But a positive part of it is that it has a few tools that can help you through the problems. For instance, it can give you an example to help you solve, or even bring you into a textbook to the section that you’d need to know how to solve the problem. But after speaking to a few students who have to use this program it is mostly on the unfavorable side of the spectrum. Student Hana Farid said, “When doing math homework online it causes me some stress because it affects your grade on accuracy and not on the effort you put in, like our homework would normally be graded.” After speaking to numerous students it seems to be a detriment to them and most of them would rather do the normal homework with pen and paper.

In the past two years, Chatham students have started to use Google Chromebooks supplied by the school. This past year it has been counted that there is almost double the amount of computers than there are students in the school. The Chromebooks are very handy for in class use because Google accounts allows for multiple people to work on a document at the same time which makes group work much easier for both the students and teachers. Every student, teacher and school employee has a Google account that makes interaction easily accessible for everyone in the school. Yet, with all this technology there is bound to be a few issues. Student Chris Bronzino says, “A lot of times Chromebooks take a while to load, and usually it takes multiple attempts to sign in to programs such as Google Drive and Schoology. They also definitely take away from the in-class learning experience.” Many may not agree with this statement because in general the Chromebooks have been a pretty great thing for students to have access to. I got the chance to speak with a teacher (who will remain anonymous) that said “After teaching in Chatham the past few years, I am able to tell my friends that our taxes are being put to great use seeing all the technological advancements in the High school.” Seeing this statement and by talking to others it seems that the Google Chromebooks have overall been a pretty good implement to CHS.

Altogether, it seems that there are many sides to how people feel about the abundance of technology in Chatham High school. There are aspects of it that people like and dislike, like there would always be in any dispute in general. Besides the things that were stated earlier, there are many other aspects of technology that are being used in the school that haven’t been stated such as the multiple programs for elective classes like TV production, website design, piano lab, animation and many more. As a whole, Chatham High has been very fortunate to have the technology that all students, teachers, faculty and parents all have access to, though for some it may be overwhelming, it is mostly beneficial to all the lives of the people in the Chatham community.