Frequent Wifi disconnection affects instruction

By Jenna Greenzaid , Features Editor

Classrooms, Chromebooks, connection: one of them is the odd one out.

In many afternoon classes, the internet connection has been fluctuating and computers’ connections have been disconnecting during class. Because CHS has become reliant on technology when it comes to Chromebooks and Promethean Boards, the impact of the internet being down is greater than it would’ve been in the past.

“I feel that [CHS] does rely heavily on technology, but this not a bad thing,” junior Matthew Menkart said. “Having the resources to improve our education is always good, despite the fact that they do not work occasionally.”

Many students have experienced firsthand the issues that come along with reliance on technology, specifically when technology, or technically internet connection, fails.

“The internet has been disconnected in my AP World class and my AP Spanish Lang class,” Menkart said. “During World, we planned to watch videos for two days while our teacher was out. However, we were unable to watch the videos due to the disconnection and we ended up sitting there and doing nothing.”

Most teachers have become accustomed to the random changes in internet service and know to be prepared just in case the internet fails.

“When the internet goes down, it is usually just a nuisance that teachers have become accustomed to, like knowing to have backups on PowerPoints or having hard copy worksheets,” Menkart said.

Part of the shift toward CHS being more tech-reliant is due to the fact that CHS students, as Millennials and Gen Y kids, are naturally more inclined to use technology due to the fact that it’s been with and around them for their whole lives.

“I feel that my generation is much better at using technology compared to our parents,” Menkart said. “We were born into the Digital Revolution and grew up with the technology, while our parents had to adapt to this change.”

Because of this so-called “Digital Revolution” and worldwide reliance on technology with things such as self-driving cars and crazy computer programs, people have decided Google knows everything and defers to the search button instead of thinking for themselves.

According to a Jan. 2015 Guardian article, the assumption that computers provide a sufficient substitute for our own intelligence has made people all too eager to hand important work over to software and accept a subservient role for ourselves.

There has been a lot of side discussions in classes and throughout the hallways concerning the best way to take notes, whether it’s by computer or hand, and the truth is that although certain science may say handwritten notes are better, it usually depends on the student and their preference.

“I prefer Chromebooks to handwritten notes because although handwritten notes have been scientifically proven to improve memory of the topic, time and space restricts the amount of notes that can be written,” Menkart said. “On Chromebooks, many students, including myself, are able to type fast enough that they can record all of the necessary information—although the Chromebooks are flawed since recently the internet has been spotty.”

It’s not just school where students are so reliant on technology. It’s at home, in the car, at a friend’s house and at the movies all at once. People are so connected to their phones and social media that using technology has become an unbreakable habit.

According to an Oct. 2015 Concordia University article, users oftentimes have no choice but to spend hours online each day because technology is so woven into our daily lives. Technology is essential in today’s society, so those who exhibit disordered online behavior can never entirely give up use.

A main issue that comes with the disconnected internet is not the fact that it’s disconnected, but rather the fact that lesson plans that use Chromebooks and Promethean Boards are disrupted and teachers have to figure out a work-around. However, when it happens with no notice, there’s not much time to plan.

“The internet fluctuating on classes, probably wouldn’t matter [for the Language department and classes], but the two days it happened was the day I was using [Chromebooks], but I knew how to wing it,” AP Spanish Lang teacher Stayce Steele said. “That morning it worked fine and then 7th and 8th was the problem, so it did affect my lesson plan that day.”

Technology is such an important part of our everyday lives that when it fails to serve the immense purpose we put upon it, it causes a disruption to our daily lives. Still however, it can be a distraction in itself and both students and teachers need to respect that.

“I think that what we all have to learn is that sometimes that’s how that is,” Steele said. “Once the bell rings, I tell my kids to put away the phone and you have to realize that that’s just something you have to deal with. There’s so many good things that come with [technology] but it is a distraction.”

At CHS, we do have Technology Specialist Shawn McWilliams who helps to fix the problems that arise with technology in classrooms, but there are still a lot more pieces of technology that need fixing than there are of him in the school.

“They’re not hiring as many people as they should for technology,” Steele said. “In some of these elementary and middle schools, they have someone who comes twice a week. This is 2017 and this may be where MCPS needs to concentrate some of their money.”

2017 is a year of technology, as have been the past few years as well. Because of the increase in technology throughout all aspects of daily life, CHS needs to mold itself to fit in with the rush of tech.

“This is just the timing of the way we are in the world,” Steele said. “We’re just going to be using it [technology] more and more and we need to jump on the bandwagon even more. We do need people to fix them and to be able to help when that situation happened maybe if they had more people it would’ve been fixed faster. Maybe even help train the kids on how to do things.”