Cellphones at OHS

Cellphones at OHS

Alex Snow, Reporter

The use of technology can be a touchy subject at Olympia High School. It can either be something incredibly important, or nothing better than a distraction. Some teachers forbid students from using cell phones in their classrooms. “It’s a no-phone zone until I tell them to have one member of their group use it to look up something I specify,” English teacher Mr. Underland says. Other classes, like Viscom, center around the use of computers. “Technology is essential to this class,” Ms. Boyer says, “ Technology is used in every aspect of Viscom.”

Students use technology all the time in their classes. “Students can do nearly everything via technology,” Yearbook teacher Mr. Zarate says. “Most of them don’t carry laptops around everyday, but they use their phones.” Some teachers also have their students turn in their assignments online. “Today [my class] used Chromebooks, submitted something on turnitin.com after creating it in drive,” Mr. Underland says,  “A few read aloud from an article I had them find on their phones.”

Of course, with all this technology, students of today have become proficient in using it. Ms. Boyer says, “I think students tend to be technologically savvy, they’re comfortable using it for classwork, since they’ve been around it for most of their lives.”

The way technology is used has changed too. As Mr. Underland says, “When I began teaching, before the Neolithic Revolution, we teachers did not even have this thing called email.”  Mr. Zarate also compared the invention of the phone to the invention of the printing press. “The phone has revolutionised everything, it’s been a major shift in global culture… In the future, people will look back on the invention of the phone like we look at the printing press today. It changed everything.” The technological advances have also been accompanied by the skills of the students. “Students tend to learn to use technology at a much younger age,” Ms. Boyer says, “There’s a lot of resources online, like Youtube, that students readily have access to, so they can teach themselves.” However, with great power, comes great responsibility. “I also think students need to be taught when it’s appropriate, because they have grown up with this technology in their pocket.”

Sometimes, technology can be a huge distraction. “Apps like Snapchat and Instagram, those can be a pretty big distraction,” Mr. Zarate says. “Sometimes you get a student playing a game on their phone, but that’s not very common, it’s usually those two.”  Cell phone usage in the classroom isn’t always a terrible thing. “I approach technology like an employer approaches an employee,” Ms. Boyer says. “There are times when it’s not appropriate, but if it’s not a distraction to work or to others, then it’s okay.” The usage of cellphones in class for social media isn’t that big an issue either. “Honesty, there aren’t that many people using it for social media,” Mr. Zarate says, “I have to deal with, maybe one or two people a day. It’s not that big an issue. I’m not having to deal with thirty plus people daily.”