Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Graded 1 to 1

As most of us have already noticed, technology is the present and the future. And wanting to embrace this tool that has made life so much easier, Graded has adopted the 1 to 1 program, where students are required to bring their laptops to school and where classes are mostly conducted using the aid of technology. And from a student’s point of view, the 1 to 1 can be both immensely helpful and ridiculously frustrating at times. And many of the times, the latter prevails. 

photos by yearbook staff

But let's start with the good parts. I love the fact that I have to carry almost nothing home, it is lightweight and accessible from anywhere with internet (WITH Internet). It gives us access to different teaching methods and I can do my work and immediately send it to the teacher without any “my dog ate my homework” type of problems. My hand doesn’t turn gray with graffiti whenever I write an essay. And of course, the satisfaction of knowing that innumerable trees, habitats, and animals are saved in the process is incomparable. And the list goes on. 
But on the other hand, this 1 to 1 program is becoming somewhat of a bother. It's nothing horrendous, but it can sometimes be very inconvenient. Futile Brazilian outlets that do not correspond with our chargers leaving the students staring at their screens in despair as the battery life drops down to a 0%, uncooperative google docs’ and coursewebs, blackouts, slow Internet and broken projectors are among the long list of things that could (and do) go wrong. There’s more. Certainly, laptops can be used to write notes and take quizzes and more. But annotating passages, making group posters, and math, MATH, online? Are we serious? Oh, and the infamous "keep them at forty-five" term. My ears cringe every time I hear it. And the worse part of it all is the distractions. Oh, distractions. Let's face it. Not only students, but I know parents and teachers can relate to this as well. When things such as Facebook, other classes’ assignments, music, emails, and whatever else are nothing more than just a click away, I can say with confidence that it can be tremendously difficult to stay on task. When the teacher's voice tunes down to a monotonous drone or when my concentration dies out, I sometimes find myself wandering off and reading the strangest articles about the science behind the chills we get while listening to good music or about interpretations of Shakespeare's Othello off random websites. Terribly rude of my part, and I partially blame my laptop for it.
But enough. I am not here to rant about the 1 to 1 program. Well, sort of. But here’s the good news. I personally believe that it is a question of adaptation. Ever since the Mesopotamians developed reading and writing in 3200 BCE, the human race has always been accustomed to writing by hand; and when technological advance and internet and computers are hurled at our faces, it is obvious that our natural inclination is to fight back. But with time, I believe we will learn to adapt properly and use technology much to our advantage. And to save paper of course. Perhaps once we get accustomed to emailing our teachers the homework rather than handing them in and to take our notes online, we will look back and thank the gods for the 1 to 1 program. 
Or maybe not. Maybe we’re just fooling ourselves and paper will forever and always be the most efficient way to do it. What do you think?

MC Otani

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