By Sarah Hirschhorn (Correspondent)
Without their computers and phones some students would truly be lost.
Last year, 8th grade SMS students piloted the 1:1 DELI program and received their own laptops from the school’s technology department. This year, these same students have been using these laptops at the high school.
“Throughout the year I’ve used my laptop a lot during classes. I use it to take notes, to do research for projects, and to write essays. I think that without my laptop, my whole academic lifestyle would be different,” said Rachael Garcia, a freshman who has been participating in the 1:1 program since 8th grade.
Freshman Kavya Anbarasu says that in general students can get really distracted by technology. “Oftentimes many students are found playing games on their laptops and phones, when really they should be paying attention to the lesson,” she said.
“Personally, I prefer to take notes on paper but I know there are a lot of advantages to taking notes on a laptop. It’s easier to change your notes, to add to them, to take something out. You can also use the Internet to search things up, to check if they are right,” added Anbarasu.
Emma Olshin, a 9th grade student says laptops aren’t essential because students have done okay without them in previous grades.
But she says they are helpful nevertheless. “I do think that they enhance our learning experience in a positive way. We’ve had them for two years now, so getting rid of them would definitely be a big change. I think we should continue to use them,” said Olshin.
According to Olshin, there are many ways laptops prove beneficial. “Freshmen teachers don’t have to sign out laptop carts if they know they want to use laptops that day, so that is easier for them. [And] we use them in Physics class for simulation activities,” added Olshin. “Also, some people are better at typing than writing.”
Ms. Weston, an English teacher who teaches both freshmen and sophomores, says that for some students, the laptops are a distraction. “The rules established by individual classroom teachers help students understand when to use their laptops and when to leave them in their bags,” she said
She adds that appropriate technology use depends on the context. “Sometimes electronics are a distraction during Eagle Block. But during lunch, students should be able to relax and to have downtime as long as their phone use is school appropriate,” she said.
Social Studies teacher Ms. Stevens says that she is not a huge fan of technology use, especially during Eagle Block, which is supposed to be a time to get work done or to de-stress.
“Most students spend the time texting, Snapchatting or playing games on their phones. It is a colossal waste of time and also the opposite of creating the re-charging that Eagle Block was designed for,” she said. “I would like to see all students have to put their phones in a holder at the beginning of every class.”
Ms. Weston also says that phone use is not always relaxing. “The Monday after February vacation, I left my cell phone at home and it turned out to be a welcome break from the outside world. I was marginally more focused on teacher duties that day,” said Weston, who adds that normally she receives distracting texts throughout the day from her family.
But Garcia says she approves of using technology during Eagle Block and lunch. “It’s our free time in school, and it gives us the time to relax. Technology is a big part of our lives nowadays,” she said.
Ultimately Stevens says that, like all forms of technology, students should take advantage of the laptops but take care not to use them as methods for straying from the work at hand.
“I have noticed that the freshmen have trouble staying on task or not being distracted when we use the laptops in class,” she said. “I think they are a great tool but we all have to be really mindful about how we are using them.”