When you think of what classes are like at New Haven, what do you think of? Chromebooks, Gmail, Google docs, and just a lot of internet-related sources. Although it may be hard to picture for some students, the internet hasn’t been around for that long. The internet was born in the 80’s but didn’t take a recognizable form until the 90’s. If you do the math, the current seniors were born around 2000 and 2001. Internet has been around for their entire lives, but not for many of our teachers.
In a recent poll, the teachers of NHHS were asked what grade they were in when they began to use the internet for class work. Some reported being as early as grade school, while others reported being in middle school and high school when they began to use it in schools.
Ms. McCroskey pointed out: “Middle school is when I started using the internet, though it definitely existed before that.”
Some teachers reported that the classroom pace seemed far slower before there was regular usage of computers.
When asked to compare what class was like when they were in school and how it is now, many said that class is faster-paced, more interactive, and that they have more knowledge at their fingertips.
Ms. McCroskey mentioned, “As a teacher, I definitely rely on Google more than my teachers did. They would've balked at having educational standards require teachers to use technology.”
“Computers were once confined to a small room that you would enter to complete a very specific task,” Mrs. Borcherding began. “Now, we use computers/internet all day long. I use them to post assignments on Google classroom, I email students when they are ill, and we've switched from an art history textbook to Khan Academy, which offers a history course that is completely online.”
“I feel like we have better resources to monitor the use of technology in schools now,” Mrs. Hausmann pointed out.
Keeping what Mrs. Hausmann mentioned in mind, the teachers were then asked if they preferred the use of Chromebooks, internet, and other electronics, or if they preferred the use of textbooks, novels, and other written materials.
The majority of the teachers said they preferred more written materials, although some said a combination of the two is good.
As said by Mrs. Hausmann, “I really prefer a combination of print and electronic sources. I think print sources are beneficial for a number of reasons. Tactile learners connect to a text that they can actually hold in their hands a little easier, and sometimes we have to actually write all over a text to annotate and fully understand it. A paper copy is the best way to engage a tactile learner. However, integrating electronic resources can often engage students, keeping them on task and providing some additional autonomy in their learning environment.”
Ms. McCroskey simply said, “I just like the feel of books and having things in my hand.”
The teachers were later asked if they felt the internet was an important educational resource-- 100% of the teachers said yes.
Although Mrs. Borcherding mentioned, “I like the internet because it makes vast amounts of knowledge easily accessible. However, if time is not managed well, it can also be a mind-numbing waste.”
100% of the teachers reported in the recent poll that they would prefer their students to work with Chromebooks in the classroom than have students research in a library.
As we can all agree, the internet has changed a lot of things over the years. In the classrooms, it has given many students new and, in some cases, better ways to learn. Hopefully the technical development continues to better our schools rather than slow them down.