Education has been incorporating technology into its curriculum since the 1870s when teachers used the Magic Lantern slide projector to present pictures to their class. Schools across the nation today use computers, projectors, SMART boards, and are continuing to add the most modern technology into the classroom.
At La Plata, there are a plethora of opportunities for students to explore the technology field. The library has desktop computers and laptops for student access along with iPads, a green screen, and Nooks. Classes such as Exploring Computer Science, Foundations of Technology, AP Computer Science Principles, and the Engineering program is offered to students who have interests in and want to learn more about technology. Extra curricular activities and clubs such as VEX Robotics and MESA are also offered to students. The library has SMART boards available for teachers to check out and use in their classroom lesson. SMART boards are often used for instruction and allow teachers to share visuals that accompany their lesson plans.
La Plata High School may have a leg up in the technology game compared to some schools, but to the schools in our county, we are at a disadvantage. While the newer schools have the same amount of funding as we do, they don’t have to spend any of that on renovations. Our school is in constant need of TLC; new carpets, walls, doors, foundation and roof repair, trailer reconstruction and so on and so forth. A significant amount of our budget is spent on repairs and additions, unlike the newer schools who don’t have the problems that an older building like our school does. Mrs. Belanger suggests that “The board can give us extra funding because we have to renovate.” Schools like St. Charles and North Point have brand new schools and can spend all of their budget on what it is meant to be spent on. However, there are some that say technology can potentially be distracting and take away from the lesson. In Mrs. Spencer’s room, the SMART board often doesn’t work. She is not able to write on the documents explaining how to complete a problem. Without seeing how a problem is done, it becomes very difficult to learn how to do it. The only alternative to the SMART board is the shower board Mrs. Spencer purchased with her own money because we do not have the funding for all teachers to have white boards. The shower boards are very hard to erase and leave residue making it difficult to read what the teacher has written. We have wasted half of class on several occasions due to technical difficulties. With the proper funding, lessons will go much smoother because teachers will have everything they need in order to do their job. Mr. Douglas, La Plata High School’s computer analyst, receives more than thirty help desk tickets a week with several complaints such as software and printer issues which just goes to show how many technical problems the school has. Simple technical issues are bound to happen, but would be prevented if we were able to provide things such as mounted projectors or wire free LCD carts.
Everyone at La Plata High School is extremely grateful for the devices provided for them, because we do not need to have them. The teachers and staff just want to have the best for their students so they can enhance their learning experience. With appropriate funding fit to our situation, it is possible.