Technology on the go: Chromebooks for all

Students work on their Chromebooks in Ms. Julie Breeden's class on Friday, Aug. 18. Dual Credit classes like those taught by Breeden are utilizing the Chromebooks in school.

Caleb Carrasquillo

Students work on their Chromebooks in Ms. Julie Breeden's class on Friday, Aug. 18. Dual Credit classes like those taught by Breeden are utilizing the Chromebooks in school.

Rachel Gray, Reporter

Whether it be SMART Boards or the increasing implementation of the website My Big Campus, the recent technological improvements found inside of the educational system at SHS are giving students countless opportunities according to principal Ms. Barbara Brouwer.

The newest advancement, as many students know, are the Chromebooks. Although the Chromebooks were released to the entire school this year, they were officially brought to SHS last school year through an idea that had been introduced with the help of Perry Township.

“We knew education wasn’t going to continue to always look the way it has, and so the administrators had a vision of school without school books,” Brouwer said.

The Chromebooks were introduced to SHS last year through a combination of the administrators ideas about a school system in which books would become inessential to the average student, alongside the help of Perry Township.

Once the idea became a possibility, administrators discussed applying for Chromebooks with several SHS teachers.

After SHS obtained the Chromebooks, Perry Township was able to monitor the usage as well as the progress of the students throughout the school year. By the end of the year, SHS was proven to use the computers more than any other school in the township, so SHS was rewarded with enough Chromebooks for every student for the 2014-2015 school year. As of August 6, approximately 85 percent of students had received their Chromebooks, others have yet to collect theirs mostly due to lack of paperwork.

“The biggest challenge is that they don’t have their paperwork completed. A lot of parents don’t know their skyward access,” media specialist Ms. Tara Foor said.

Students and parents who are currently unable to access their Skyward account or have any other complications with the website are advised to contact the school. Several students find the new Chromebooks to be quite beneficial to their education. With the new ability not only to download online books, but to also utilize applications such as Google Docs, My Big Campus and Gmail, students have more tools compared to years previous. SHS Students, such as Sophomore Kiernan Coughlin-Wolf, have found that they have an easier time communicating with teachers through their Chromebooks.

“I really like having the Chromebooks this year compared to past years. It helps keep everything organized, and it makes it easier to share with teachers,” Coughlin-Wolf said.

Other students find the Chromebooks slightly difficult to use due to the fact some students need to adjust their schedules in order to turn in online assignments because of a limited internet access.

“I don’t have internet at home, so obviously all the work that I’m going to have to be doing online, I’m going to have to be doing here,” junior Jake Enochs said.

Teachers, such as Technical Ethics and Literacy teacher Mr. Dana Johnson, are finding the increase in technology at Southport to be a positive transition that gives them the opportunity to give students more frequent online assignments.

“I’m quite happy with Chromebook, and how Google Docs allows me to use or collect papers that the students are doing right in a folder, automatically,” Johnson said.

Though there are positive aspects found within the Chromebooks, teachers, such as Biology teacher Mrs. Amanda Schnepp, have found minor problems within the addition of the Chromebooks, such as students not being able to login, access programs such as YouTube and lack of wifi connectivity within the building.

“I think the Chromebooks are eventually going to work out very nicely for our students, its a great way for them to become more technically savvy in this technology driven world,” Schnepp said. “I am concerned because we are having so many problems with them going down and not being able to access things.”

Though the Chromebooks have had shown to contain minor technical difficulties, the new laptops have also shown to have promise. Since they have been introduced to the students, the adjustment is proving to have a major improvement with few setbacks.

Overall, the technology will help students as well as the staff to communicate and learn. The Chromebooks will help SHS become a more technologically advanced environment for the current as well as the future students.