Is There Enough Technology Inside of Hillcrest Classrooms?
By Trishanna Singh, Senior Writer
Throughout the last decade, technology has definitely made its way in the limelight. While most people think that technology is all about social media and Facebook, it is beginning to be known to help children progress in their learning and enhance the experience of those in school. Many of us go home and do our homework -- and everything else -- on our laptops, smart phones, or tablets. However, in many classes at Hillcrest High School, things go back to the mundane-- pen and pencil. In Hillcrest, we have a few teachers using technology, but wonder if Hillcrest has enough technology in the classroom.
One main issue is if we have enough available technology here at Hillcrest. Each SLC has one computer cart that it shares -- two if they are lucky -- and only a few SLCs like Public Service and Law and Health Sciences have computer labs in an SLC classroom. Even with throwing in the 50 plus computers in the library, and it still is not enough to allow every student to grow digitally. “If students had more access to computers within the school, it would allow me to assign more technology as homework,” said Ms. Sirsky, an English teacher in the Biztek SLC that uses technology in her classroom.
Ms. Sirsky represents a growing faction of teachers that are trying to use technology in their room despite a limited number of laptops.As an English teacher, Ms. Sirsky likes to use PupilPath for grades, PowerPoint presentations, and Google Forms for assignments that students hand in. Ms. Sirsky feels that she is proficient in technology enough to teach digital skills along with the subject of English. She is also adept in fixing hardware and software that we use everyday here in Hillcrest. She said, “I enjoy teaching English with technology and preparing students for the PSATs and SATs.”
Ms. Magrane, a Math teacher, shares the opinion that we do not have enough technology in Hillcrest, but warns that computer purchases isn’t enough. “We do not have enough printers, and the Internet activity is unstable.” Ms. Magrane is a member of the Hillcrest High School’s Digital Ready team that consists of several teachers in The Academy of Media, Arts and Music SLC who are attempting to create an SLC-wide environment of digital use by teachers. Ms. Magrane had the suggestion that if we had more computers in a classroom it would be a great help. Ms. Magrane said, “I think if we had a bank of 4 or 5 computers in each room, it would help students fill in their trouble spots by allowing them to learn independently or with a small group facilitated by a teacher.”
Technology in the classroom isn’t just an English or Math thing -- Physical Education teachers are now using technology in their classes as well. Mrs. Carmichael, a new Physical Education teacher here in Hillcrest said that Hillcrest does have enough technology. When teaching her lesson, she uses technology to blast music to boost students’ motivation and the computer for power point lessons to assist students. She has the opportunity to use the Internet for videos to demonstrate proper techniques for varying activities. “I would like better set-ups to use interactive gaming with my students so they would have more fun learning.”
Mr. Asqui is a key member of the Hillcrest attempts at creating a digital school in Hillcrest. “I believe there is enough technology here at Hillcrests,” he said. He believes that there is plenty that teachers could work with -- including the use of iPads.
While the use of Smartboards is common amongst most teachers, the school could benefit from having access to Youtube. Both Mrs. Carmichael and Mr. Asqui both stated how great video use was in Physical Education classes. Ms. Sirsky agrees with the opinion that having access to Youtube can support a teacher. Videos are a great way to gain a student’s attention, but “it’s a difficult process to show videos to help students without using Youtube,” Ms. Sirsky states.
The big picture is that some teachers have the opinion that we do not have enough technology to make it worth-while while others think we have enough need to tweak how teachers use it for the better. The bottom line is that while teachers can be creative in how they use technology in their classrooms, more technology is still needed.
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