How schools have changed.

I remember High School somewhat well.  Heck, I only graduated from it 7 years ago.  I remember thinking that everything was a huge deal socially, and put a lot of stress on myself.  Even though I was taking some Accelerated and Advanced Placement classes, I didn’t really stress that much on my work.  Most of my issues were social, and because of which, I had decent enough grades.

The last two weeks I have been subbing again, and it has been a nice breath into what High School is like.  I am working for the same district that I graduated from, and because of which, there are a lot of the same cultures in place, but a lot has also changed.

All students are issued these when they become freshmen.
All students are issued these when they become freshmen.

The first thing that I noticed when I started working here was the use of technology.  All students have mini-laptops that are powered by Google, called ChromeBooks.  When I started working for this district a couple years ago, only the Freshmen and Sophomores had them, as they were in the process of integrating them.  Now, almost everything has transitioned to the cloud, and every teacher maintains a classroom website.  This has many advantages, but also can cause a lot of problems.

Today I was subbing some classes, and the students had assignments that they had to do on their ChromeBooks.  This is nice, as the teacher who is out can prepare a lesson online and have the students access it.  He can remotely make sure the students are doing their work without actually being there themselves.  However, while going around the room monitoring students and making sure they were understanding their assignment, I found almost a third of the class on Facebook or Netflix.  Having this much access to technology makes it hard to judge if the students are using it for the appropriate things.

The original iPhone released in June of 2007
The original iPhone released in June of 2007

The other thing that I noticed was how lenient the school has become on the use of cell phones.  When I was in school, I couldn’t even have my phone out in the cafeteria, as it would get taken away.  I remember getting a detention for taking my phone out for a quick second to check the time once.  The first iPhone also came out when I was in High School, so having a smartphone was a new concept for a lot of people.  Now, I have to remind the students to take their earbuds out to hear me.  Before, I would have gotten that phone taken away so fast that I wouldn’t have even seen the teacher coming.  Now, often times teachers find themselves in a battle with taking the phones away.  Students are fighting back more, and parents feel that taking a phone away is somehow violating their students rights.

A lot has changed, and I am unsure if it is completely for the better.  As someone who uses technology quite frequently, I see it’s uses.  However, by introducing too much too fast, we are running into some issues.

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