Ditching the textbooks for Chromebooks

Students evaluate Granite Bay High’s use of technology in classrooms

  As the modern age, filled with new technology, creeps upon us, many begin to wonder whether it is helpful or slowly destroying us.

  On the Granite Bay High School campus, technology has become a very prevalent force. From Chromebooks to Blackboard online, students have seen many challenges and setbacks. However, they are still ruled overall as useful for the education of students.

  Senior Ryan Hunter, a member of the technology-based program on campus known as GBiT, said he believes the technology on campus truly enhances the education students are receiving.

  “I think technology is helping education,” Hunter said. “It makes the admin side of teaching easier, it allows students to work together better, and it opens access to educational resources that we wouldn’t normally be able to use.

  “That being said, many classes have no use for it. There seems to be a general push to get more tech in classrooms, but there’s a limit to its benefits, especially with certain classes, and it should be left up to the teachers to figure out how more technology gets involved in their class.”

  Senior Matthew Luckenbihl, a student in International Baccalaureate Business, agreed.

   “I think overall, technology helps education, mainly in the way of plagiarism, regulation, interactive lecturing and more engaging classroom activities,” Luckenbihl said.

  Senior Cole Diemer, also a member of GBIT, said there are more benefits of technology than downsides.

  “Technology increases the students’ ability to learn, because they have more ways to learn online,” Diemer said. “Technology is helping education.”

  One of the downsides that people have discovered with technology in an educational setting is the lack of understanding people often have with it.

  Hunter said those who are more comfortable with technology find themselves able to utilize it in class, while others might be better off with a more traditional route.

  “Teachers’ capability varies pretty drastically,” Hunter said. “Some teachers have it down naturally, a lot have taken time to be trained to use it and there are a lot who haven’t been trained and are totally lost. The difference between who knows technology and who doesn’t is usually fairly clear to the students.

  “Technology is very reliable if you understand how to use it. The teachers who regularly use technology or have gone to trainings are able to work past the small issues that are sometimes associated with ‘unreliability.’ That being said, you can’t get much more reliable than a textbook and whiteboard.”

  Diemer said teachers are sometimes challenged by an inability to keep up with the ever-changing nature of modern technology.

  “Capability of using technology by staff members varies, but many are very behind,” Diemer said.

   Luckenbihl said technology takes time to learn, and without taking the time, it’s useless.

  “Within reason, I think any new addition to the classroom, if deemed useful or necessary, can be fully utilized by an instructor as long as appropriate education is provided,” Luckenbihl said. “I have seen many teachers who are very fluent in the use of their SMART Boards thanks to extensive training, which really helps move things along in the learning process. Districts can’t simply throw new tools in and expect self-sufficiency. A significant time investment must be made, or these additions go to waste.”

  Users’ ability to understand and utilize technology has its perks, but for those who cannot keep up, technology can more distracting than helpful.

  However, some GBHS students noted that only certains parts of technology are aiding the educational process, while others only waste time.

   “I think how much educational technology benefits student learning depends on the class,” Hunter said. “For example, in AP Stats, we have the ability to gather data from everyone and then analyze it together almost instantly because of the Chromebooks. That kind of hands-on group work is done so easily assisted by technology and adds a lot to students’ understanding.

  “However, in classes like AP Euro and AP Gov, the easiest way for most to consume that information is with lectures and discussions, not an application or website. … For example, it’s just better to teach some classes with lectures and discussions than a Chromebook. I would even go as far as to say that I think some classes are being hurt by the pressure to use technology that isn’t needed.”

  Luckenbihl said the secret is to use technology selectively.

  “I do think technology helps in education, but only certain applications,” he said. “When it comes to the SMART Boards, (technology is) expediting lectures and allowing for more interactive teaching methods.”