By Scott Kumamoto, Staff writer
Here at McClatchy new and improved technology is affecting learning environments and habits. Recently, CKM has bought more technology, like Macbooks and iPads, for the library and classrooms to help bring McClatchy to the 21st century. Mr. Lambert was able to buy all these new devices through the school’s site fund. After all the heavy budgeting, there were leftover funds that Mr. Lambert could use to purchase Apple tablets for teachers and TV monitors for hallways. He explained that “incorporating technology, like tablets, to school will improve the learning environment. Also, it can reduce the amount of paper usage which is very expensive for the school.” Mr. Lambert has done a great job giving CKM the latest technology, but sometimes it can prove to be more of an obstacle for students and teachers.
In the library, there are over thirty new Apple laptops that have been known to cause some problems. Some have complained that the computers are slow and the applications don’t properly work. When they do, students are able to efficiently finish their work.
The school also has internet difficulties, which many teachers rely on to obtain files from their emails or drives, research a topic like articles and current events, or update their class websites. When internet connection fails, which it often does, videos won’t play, websites won’t load, and classes lose valuable learning time. Mr. Douglas commonly runs into problems with his computer. One day in class, Mr. Douglas wasn’t able to print a worksheet for his history class because of internet problems. In response, he had to call technical support and continue class with different work. Teachers have limited time to teach a certain amount of material each day to their classes. If the internet won’t function correctly, like in Mr. Douglas’ room, then students won’t learn about the required subject, causing more stress for teachers and lower scores on important tests.
The school relies heavily on technology these days. It’s actually become a requirement that teachers use iPads, Macbooks and tablets to teach their classes. This ultimately leads to mass confusion among staff members. Teachers receive little to no training on using their iPads and laptops. Newer teachers already have past experience with the new products but older, experienced teachers who have been using whiteboards and overhead projectors are lost trying to figure out the control manual. Mrs. Vann, the librarian, explained how she didn’t receive any training prior to obtaining new technology. She has been learning how to use the laptops along with the students who need help with them. Mrs. Vann also said “most schools have an on-site tech team, but that’s something we haven’t budgeted for.” An on-site tech team could fix the small technological problems in the computers that make working difficult. Currently, the school only has one technician, Skylar West, but he also works for nine other schools in the district, and consequently is not on campus everyday. If the CKM computers run into a problem, it will have to wait until he arrives. Skylar claimed that “having an on-site tech team could save him a significant amount of time. They could fix the small bugs that take time to repair.” While this may be true, Skylar also argued, “Any time a new technology is implemented, it’s going to come with it’s share of pros and cons.”
Ms. Oram believes that the Apple products haven’t helped her teaching. She says, “the technology only makes work more complicated.” Her students are being held back from fulfilling work because they don’t know how to use the computers properly. She tried to have her classes create a math project over the computer but it didn’t work out well.
Mr. Fisher thinks otherwise claiming that technology has greatly improved the conditions at school. He uses the laptops for various class work like projects or PowerPoints. However, he explained how “the new technology is useful, but it does have it’s problems.” The laptops need more maintenance to function at its full capacity. Mr. Fisher believes having more technicians on campus could solve many problems. Other than a lack of technicians, Mr. Fisher enjoys having such useful tools on hand.
The technology that has been integrated into CKM has proven to be both a benefit and problem. The new laptops, monitors and computer lab have provided more education opportunities for students not available in many public high schools. Many teachers also have an easier time teaching their students because the projectors and tablets are convenient for everyday purposes. However, for some, the technology causes an array of problems. Teachers often run into minor problems that tends to hold the class back from learning. Students often have a hard time learning how the computers and laptops work, and teachers can’t always help these students because they received little, if any training on how to use the new computers.
Despite some unforeseen challenges, McClatchy has taken it’s first steps to becoming a truly modern high school with resources to rival that of a private school.