A common sentiment is that technology can be both a wonderful and treacherous invention. Tablets were introduced to McNicholas in the 2011-12 school year and students have been faced with both positive and negative outcomes. McNick students and staff members shared the pros and cons of technology in the classroom that they’ve experienced over the past seven years.
“I think some of the biggest pros are the amount of resources available,” Director of Technology Andy Ey said. “Any information you need is right at your fingertips, and that is in the literal sense.”
“In many careers that our students will be embracing, computers are part of that path, so being familiar with [computers] is important,” theology teacher John Norman said. “In class, we can access videos, current news articles, and music. This immediate connection with resources is very useful as a teacher.”
“One of the things that I think is great [about technology] is our ability to collaborate,” Director of Educational Technology Emily Materna said. “Technology can connect us to other classrooms and professionals.”
“Using technology helps so much with taking notes. You are able to be so much more organized and don’t have to worry about sloppy handwriting,” junior Skylar Maushart said. “It also helps with being organized in general. I can keep all of my assignments in one spot without having to worry about forgetting something at home.”
With all these positive aspect to technology, there are negatives as well.. Ey said, “Obviously we’ve got distractions: games, social media, fake news… just distractions that take us off of the task we should be on.”
“[Technology] distracts from the classroom dynamic,” Norman said. He stated that tablets can cause students to “drift” away from the discussion in the classroom, so “the quality of interaction is diminished.” He added, “In theology, we are looking for a depth of understanding, the ability to think on your own. The tablet can give much information, but [students] have to be able to think and know the information to be able to apply it.”
“Pope Francis talks about developing a serene attentiveness. What he means by that is when we are with others, we should give them our full attention,” Norman added. “Because we use technology so much, both in and out of the classroom, what has happened to our ability to be still in the presence of the Lord?”
“You can be in the most interesting class but even the most focused people have to resist the urge to play solitaire [online] or take Buzzfeed quizzes,” Maushart said.
“Teachers can monitor and block us from the internet,” junior Sarah Snyder responded as a way for teachers to limit the distractions.
“When we have so much technology… it affects our ability to be with one another in sharing communication,” Norman said. “I think it interferes with the human connection.”
Junior Sarah Snyder uses her tablet in music appreciation class. Technology is used every school day by McNicholas students, in nearly every class.