Enter the Net

How technology has changed education

Coral CwmCwlamare, Staff Writer

The use of technology has become the standard for classrooms. One of the ways was with the introduction of Google Classroom. Instead of having to do assignments on paper, now students use Chromebooks, computers, and phones to complete assignments. Notes are posted online allowing students to complete assignments and turn them in when they miss a class. These changes have benefited students and teachers in many ways.

     On June 15, 2011, the first Chromebook was released to the general public and would eventually be used in schools. With most teachers at West Albany High School being able to access Chromebook carts, teachers have taken advantage of new resources provided it.

     Google Classroom is one resource commonly used. Using it for a variety of tasks, teachers have found it to be very helpful. It has benefits such as saving paper and communicating with students about upcoming assignments. 

     “I really like Google Classroom,” said sophomore Beth Rouse, “It notifies me about assignments and notes when I am gone. […] My teachers post notes and it saves time.”  

     Even with all the benefits, there are still some difficulties. With the constant updates to Google Classroom, many teachers find it a struggle to keep up.

     “They need to do a better job at communicating updates,” English teacher Amber Ferguson said. “I usually find out about them a while after it occurred because another teacher stumbled upon it.” 

      While this is a common complaint shared by many teachers, the effort to learn about the updates and how to use them is worth the effort, English teacher Margie Graves said.

      While teachers use this technology to teach, students use it to complete assigned work. The G Suite, a collection of Google products used in schools and businesses, have become commonplace in classrooms. 

      Online books have made it easier for students to read class materials without an actual copy, according to sophomore Alice Movay. With the ability to download books, students do not have to carry as many physical books everywhere. While it seems only to be useful for English classes, some math textbooks have online editions allowing students not need massive textbooks. But a series of studies, done by educational psychologist Patricia Alexander and 

Assistant Clinical Professor Lauren Singer at the University of Maryland in 2017, found that while students read digital books faster, it comes at the price of reading comprehension. 

      Another popular resource, Movay said, is Quizlet, an online flashcard application and website, for its various ways to study for tests. According to a post released by Quizlet in 2018, 50 percent of high school students and one third of college students use Quizlet in the United States. With the app that can be used offline on phones, students use it on the bus and before class. It also offers Quizlet live, a game based on teamwork to learn material. This is used in both world language and English classes, reinforcing what students are already learning. 

     “It is kinda fun when you know the material,” Rouse said.

     While this has numerous benefits, there can be annoyances for students like access to the internet. According to Ferguson, it’s something that is generally not a problem. Some students have limited access and have to communicate with teachers to find a work around for the issue, which usually involves printing out the work from Google Classroom. With the school working to accommodate for these issues by giving access to resources before and after school, this problem is improving, Ferguson noted. 

     “Students lean more on technology for current information,” said assistant librarian Kathy Winningham. “It is helpful.”

     However, according to Winningham, some websites being slick and appealing to look at can make information seem reliable, when in reality it may not be. This can make doing research for students difficult as they are forced to sift through what they read to determine what is trustworthy and true. The importance of education on finding viable sources has never been so important for students, said both Winningham and Ferguson.

    Both students and teachers have benefited from these updates, despite the disadvantages. But with a constantly changing technology, the education system is bound to keep changing.



I learned that balancing the types of sources you use is important. You don’t just want to use teachers or just students. I would interview more students next time.