Dimond Students See Lack of Technology as Limiting

In the age of technology, education has been given the opportunity to expand into new horizons.

Homework and assignments can be completed and submitted online. Whole papers and projects are done with computers, tablets and even phones.

For many students, this makes assignments easier to complete and more convenient.

Grading becomes more efficient and better to organize for teachers, as well.

New areas of education and visual stimulation can be accessed through using technology in classrooms and at home, making the learning experience more engaging for students.

There are many apparent benefits to the use of technology in classrooms, but only if it is available.

The Anchorage School District had an extreme lack of technology available to students and staff, and the deficit is starting to interfere with students’ capabilities to complete assignments.

The policy of Bring Your Own Device, BYOD, is meant to make up for the lack of computers available for students within the system.

However, this policy has flaws and fails to recognize the lack of access for students and the hassle of having to provide their own means of technology.

There are no computers in classrooms for students to use and the small netbooks are out of date and are not functioning.

Students in advanced classes are no strangers to the inefficiency and failure of functionality for the netbooks, which are the only source of computers in classrooms.

Junior Erin Moody is a student in Advanced Placement Language and Composition where timed in-class essays are a frequent assignment.

These students are required to type these essays and submit them online, so bringing their own device or using a the netbooks are the only options.

Moody said, “The netbooks stink. They shut down all the time during timed essays. It’s horrible.

“I had a 10 minute disadvantage because it wouldn’t start and then it shut down.”

Junior Judy Park is another AP Language and Composition student who shares the same struggles as Moody.

Park said, “The netbooks are so slow. They’re really hard to use. When we do writing assignments, I have to bring my own laptop. It’s super heavy, and it’s super annoying.”

Not only is BYOD inconvenient for students, it also poses a security problem.

Laptops and tablets are expensive and delicate pieces of technology that can be easily broken and stolen.

The Anchorage School District website says that “No student’s learning opportunities or academic performance will be limited because he or she does not have an Internet-connected device.”

This is quite hypocritical.

With all the assignments and homework that is online or needed to be completed on a computer, those without access do have their academic performances limited.

Not everyone has their own computer or tablet to bring to school and use during class and even those who do do not necessarily want to.

Computers are not the only lack of technology; printers are also.

Kristen Melican-Nevala, a Dimond English teacher, said, “We don’t have printers, and people don’t have printers at home anymore. There is definitely a discrepancy in the BYOD policy. There are haves and have nots, especially with my younger kids.

“I used to have computers in my room, but only four, and then they took them away,” said Melican-Nevala.

Teachers used to have classroom computers, but even those have been removed.

Jeff Keller, one of Dimond’s chemistry teachers, only has one computer to use.

“If this one breaks, I don’t get another one.”

With a lack of available laptops and an increasing dependence on technology for education, the deficiency is rising to a pressing issue.

Where the computers will come from is still to be determined, but there is no doubt that they are necessary if education is to continue to be integrated with technology.