As technology becomes more and more advanced, it inevitably spills into everyday life, and into our schools. Teachers now use many programs that allow students to check their grades, ask questions, have discussions, and do classwork.
The main program, SchoolLoop, has been around for a while. Many other programs, such as Schoology, Showbie, Remind, and even Facebook, hit Corona del Mar (CdM) this year. Depending on the class, some teachers prefer some platforms over others.
“I first started with Showbie, and I really love it because it’s paperless. It’s saving the environment, and it allows students to be more organized because they have access to different files,” said science teacher Heather Kroeger.
Kroeger mostly uses Showbie for in-class work.
“They can also immediately write on the file, and that gets sent directly to me, so I can monitor what they are doing,” she said.
Kroeger’s Honors Biology students read about the functions of cells and then answer the questions that go along with it, using technology to learn more about how the world works.
“I started using Schoology this year, and I really like it because it’s easy to use and the students can interact with each other so I don’t have to answer the same question 30, or a 150 times. If I’ve already answered it, they can answer it for each other,” Kroeger explained.
If a student has a question about homework or cannot find a file to print, they can just post a message on Schoology and wait for their peers to respond. Schoology is also smartphone-friendly, and students can receive alerts from the app, and get answers quickly.
Another new learning app is Remind, which senior Reese Perez calls his favorite because, “it lets me know when I have homework if I forget it.”
As the name suggests, it reminds students of certain upcoming due dates, projects, and can also be used for club and sport notices. As a texting app, Remind is easily accessible by phones, so students can check it almost anywhere, including at school, where it is much quicker to check a phone than accessing a computer. Users need the app if they send out the Remind alert, but recipients receive messages just as they would any other text message.
Facebook has been a fixture of the Internet for almost a decade. However, as other apps like Instagram and Snapchat followed in its footsteps, Facebook has fallen behind in the millennial demographic that used to keep it afloat. Now Facebook is hoping to gain back some ground by becoming part of their classrooms, clubs and sports teams.
Teachers and students post updates or link relevant articles to their Facebook page, connecting them more than ever.
Of course, these programs have many advantages and disadvantages.
Sophomore Ava Sorenson said, “I think that paperless classrooms aren’t as useful to me because I think writing the information out is more helpful.”
Freshmen Ben Cruttenden disagrees, saying, “I prefer paperless classrooms because my handwriting is poor and I can type a lot faster. Plus it saves the trees!”
Dolce Sutton, a junior, has mixed thoughts on the topic.
“The programs are really nice and easy to use, but a major disadvantage is that there is so many, and you can often forget your password and login information,” said Sutton.
Sutton brings up a good point. However user-friendly they profess to be, too many of these platforms can be a bit overwhelming.
With these new programs, schools keep getting more and more tech-savvy. However, the big question remains: is this benefic.