Increasing reliability on classroom technology concerns some educators

Slow Wi-FI, blocked access hinder lesson plans

Jason Aquino, Staff Writer

Educators across the world are ditching the chalk and whiteboards for laptops and Smart Boards. Assignments are routinely assigned through Google Classroom, grades are finalized on Aeries and papers are written on Google Docs.
Because of the increasing reliance on technology, a common complaint from teachers on the Bear Creek campus is its slowness, ironically, whether it be the Chromebooks, Smart Boards or the school Wi-Fi itself. Because of the dependent relationship between teaching and technology, an unexpected malfunction can force a teacher to change an entire lesson plan, with little notice.
Problematic school technology was also to blame when students were not able to receive their final fall semester grades until Jan. 22, 2019.
“Because of Aeries being down, none of the teachers was able to upload grades for the semester,” AP Psychology teacher Lana Gentry said.
This delay led to confusion among students, but for seniors needing to submit transcripts to prospective colleges, the service interruption was more than an inconvenience.
“I was stressing out so much, so I had my parents contact the [school] board, because state applications were due,” senior Casey Williams said. “I was definitely panicking and also mad for the slowness.”
Some students also find that technology in itself—rather than old school pen-and-paper—can be problematic to the point where they cannot take an online assessment.
“I couldn’t take one of my quizzes for Spanish because I was logged in on LanSchool from my previous period, and my teacher couldn’t take me off,” junior Ryan Santos said.
Because classrooms are all equipped with Chromebooks the laptops often have trouble connecting to the Wi-Fi when too many students are attempting to reach a server at one time. Chromebooks also block certain websites that prohibit students from visiting without a code, some of which may be necessary for classroom activities.
“To me, [Chromebooks are] not that efficient,” junior Chris Lara said. “I’d rather just use my cellular data on my phone [for assignments] because it’s faster and doesn’t have restricted sites.”
Nearby elementary schools, such as Manlio Silva, have class sets of iPads that are built with A12 processors that feature faster speed and better quality graphics and updated software that provides a faster experience than the Chromebooks Bear Creek students use. One of the early secrets to Apple’s success was its ability to infiltrate schools before other competitions. Apple began targeting younger grade levels in 2012 not only for developing a more technology-savvy future generation but also for marketing reasons: a device that provides coloring books, pictures and educational videos entices kids more than a pencil and paper.
Some students say that switching to iPads is the most optimal solution for the technological difficulties on campus as they are more versatile, space convenient and have better built-in software.
“Each student could easily carry iPads around campus while also being able to use it and type on it like it was a computer,” junior Reynante Bautista said.