Opinion: Not enough Technology

Opinion%3A+Not+enough+Technology

By: Dagney Palmer
Disagree? Want less Technology
Take a look around an average high school on an average day and you’ll see students absorbed in the Internet, cell phones, mp3 players, electronic tablets, and online or handheld video games. There are Promethean boards hanging in every classroom; many teachers insert computer- or Internet-based assignments into their curriculum; more and more Scholastic materials are becoming available online. You may think modern public schools are incredibly immersed in technology, so much so that it may have an adverse effect on education, but you may be surprised how little technology is actually being effectively used toward educational goals.
Even though many tools are available online, students are still forced to carry up to seven textbooks at a time throughout the day. Lugging around 20 to 30 pounds on your back can lead to poor posture, back and spine trouble later in life, and even scoliosis. These textbooks are also expensive to purchase and maintain for the school, and most of them just get vandalized and mistreated by students, costing the school more money to repair.
The fact that students are still required to use hard copy textbooks in this day and age is astounding. It would be cost effective in the long run for many schools, as well as healthier and easier for students, if textbooks and other resources were available online or accessible from tablets such as Kindles and iPads.
Public schools in America are still largely paper-based in a growing paperless world in terms of textbooks, exams, assignments, and grading systems. Teachers and schools still spend billions of dollars a year on paper, printers, copy machines, ink, and textbooks, and as we can see at Tuscarora, many schools are simply running out of money for these “necessities.” The amount of money spent on paper, printers, ink, etc. could be more effectively put to use investing in tablets, laptops, or even online systems as simple as e-mail.
If public school systems really want to “go green” and save all those amazing rainforests and cuddly polar bears, they should work toward eliminating unneeded paper products and emphasizing technology-based assignments and testing systems. We are always being encouraged to recycle and use less paper in school and out, but the best way to do this is to start removing the need for so much paper. More technology in schools allow for less paper, which is both environmentally friendly and economically smart.
Though our county has taken a big step in having students take the yearly SOLs using an online program, other tests like AP exams and regular assessments are still paper-based. More and more educational resources are becoming available online; why not take it another step further? Midterms and other assignments could be completed in an online format, and textbooks could be available online and/or downloadable to tablet devices.
There are some signs that the public school system may be heading in a paperless direction; most colleges and universities are growing paperless, with the increasing use of laptops and tablets, and even some high school teachers are allowing and encouraging the use of laptops or tablets in place of paper in their classes.