School technology increases in importance


Photo Credit: Rebecca Jacobs

Students spend a lot of time at the media center working on school assignments.

by Anastasia Zenkevich, Staff Writer

There are families that no longer talk at the dinner table. At school, essays must always be typed. Instead of playing outside, kids are watching television or playing video games.

Glen Rock High School has many forms of technology available to its students, continuing the digitization to create a school environment that resembles the outside world.

Biology teacher Sonia Bawa has been teaching at Glen Rock High School for only two years, but previously she had been a student teacher in Montclair.

Seeing better use of the Smart Boards would be a big improvement for teachers.

— Laura Yuan, freshman

She explained that the technology available in Glen Rock is better than that of her previous school district.

Yet why then are the Glen Rock High School hallways so often filled with complaints of computers not working or websites crashing?

Some believe that most of the technology available is taken for granted and not being used to its full potential.

“Seeing better use of the Smart Boards would be a big improvement for teachers,” Laura Yuan, freshman, said.

Smart Board technology, introduced in 1991, has burgeoned over the last four years since manufacturer Smart Technologies rolled out its cheaper Smart Board 400 series in December 2010.

Yet not all can be solved with Smart Board technology.

Courtney Schmitt, former writer for The Glen Echo, wrote that Glen Rock High School has about 500 devices to sustain 829 students, teachers, and faculty.

Perhaps some of these restrictions have been eased by the newly adopted Bring Your Own Device policy, code 5132.1.  It reads: “The district will allow middle school and high school pupils to bring their own district authorized technology devices for their use in the classroom when specifically permitted by the classroom teacher or on campus during non-instructional time.”

The policy retains the teacher’s right to deny students access to technology when it is not applicable to a lesson or causes a “substantial disruption.”  Devices are also to remain in the “off” position, unless told by a teacher that they may be put into use.

Students are free to use their devices with lessened restrictions during the block lunch period.

Hardware aside, Glen Rock school district has also invested substantially in its software capabilities.  Students have the ability to use professional level programs, such as Adobe In Design which is used to design the printed version of The Glen Echo.

Glen Rock High School also uses School Fusion, also used by Ridgewood, Kinnelon, and Wayne School Districts. Through the school website, students are able to view their future assignments and class work due dates.

Laura Yuan said that School Fusion was especially helpful for “checking homework.”  If a student forgets their homework at school, they have the ability to still complete it by going onto the school website.

“But since not every teacher regularly posts the homework, it can be confusing at times,” Yuan said. “Especially with the new drop schedule.”