The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

MCPS takes a byte out of internet access

Distractions+in+class+are+limited+by+the+amount+of+game+websites+blocked.+However%2C+this+creates+an+issue+where+some+educational+sites+used+in+class+are+blocked+as+well.+
Screenshot by Cailey Harrington
Distractions in class are limited by the amount of game websites blocked. However, this creates an issue where some educational sites used in class are blocked as well.

Students come into contact with blocked websites every day on their MCPS-authorized computers. Whether it is an educational YouTube video assigned by a teacher, games at the end of classes or the very popular New York Times (NYT) game “Wordle.” While blocking games on MCPS Chromebooks can be beneficial to eliminate distractions from classroom instruction, many find it can be both ineffective and frustrating for students.

“While blocked websites and games can limit the distractions available on students’ devices, when one game is blocked, students can just find another that is not blocked,” WCHS social studies teacher Rachel Sonnenberg said.

While some students will use games as a tactic to fill boredom in class, others use them to take healthy breaks after completing all of the required class work. Games that do not serve any benefit should remain blocked, but more educational games serve as a quick brain break for many students.

“I think that the students who are looking for a distraction during class by playing games that they think are boring or have the work done will always be able to find another distraction,” WCHS sophomore Isabella Alavi said. “Regardless of websites being blocked or not, the people who want a distraction will find a distraction.”

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Games such as the NYT games such as “Connections,” “The Mini” and “Spelling Bee” serve as the perfect five-minute game to play during downtime in class. Some students find it annoying that “Wordle” remains blocked while all other NYT games aren’t.

“I think that to some degree it is up to the teacher to keep class engaging and that the game websites that arent blocked are not always the cause of distraction. This can be frustrating when I complete all my homework and assignments and just want a fun break by playing a game that exercises my brain like the NYT games,” Alavi said.

The amount of websites blocked causes an issue when there are educational websites or videos that are blocked. There are videos on YouTube that teachers assign to students that are blocked, which can limit a student’s understanding of a topic or access to necessary class material.

“Sometimes videos or websites are blocked that are educational, especially some videos from YouTube. As a teacher, this can sometimes make it hard to provide the best resources to students,” Sonnenberg said.

Not all students who play games during class do it in a way that disrupts learning. Many students play games when they have done the assignments and homework and when the teacher isn’t instructing. Understandably, games should not be played during instructional time. However, when class is over and students have a break, it is nice to take a break and play some harmless, educational games.

“I do not think it is right that so many websites are blocked when the vast majority are not even inappropriate,” Alavi said. “I do not think educational games like ‘Wordle’ should be blocked when it is educational and can improve brain function. I strongly believe that students that want to find a distraction in class will – no matter what site, video and game is blocked.”

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Cailey Harrington, Promotions & Subscriptions Manager
Cailey Harrington is a sophomore and the promotions manager for the Observer. This is her second year on staff. During her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family, swimming, going to the beach, and listening to music.

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