We read 19th and early 20th-century literature in English. We study math formulas and scientific theories derived during the 17th century. We delve as far back as the dawn of modern civilization in World Studies.
Though these ancient texts have persevered through the ages and still form the foundation of human knowledge, it is important to remember that we live in the 21st century, a time of rapidly-changing technology that is constantly altering the way our society functions. Just as we are taught to reason and problem-solve in the fields of English, math, science and social studies, students should learn how to adapt and become familiar with the current technology to optimize their performance capabilities. Technology should be better integrated into the core curriculum at the school.
Virtually every high school student knows how to use a computer to some limited degree, at the very least for word-processing and checking into one’s Myspace or Facebook. Ask them how to perform a more complex procedure such as manipulating an excel spreadsheet or troubleshooting when the network connection is disrupted, and you will be very likely greeted with a vacant stare.
Not every person is destined to be a computer whiz. The average person will not need to know how to script or write their own programs. But what is necessary is the ability to quickly learn the skills necessary to handle the current technology of the day.
The school and its teaching staff should upgrade its curriculum and teaching methods to help give students experience adapting to current technology.
The rise of computers and electronic technology in general in the past two decades has been astounding. Linked to this increase is the permeation of technology into our everyday lives. In 2005, the Opinion Research Corporation reported that 76 percent of Americans claimed to own a computer. Computers and technology are becoming part of every aspect of society, from home life to the workplace.
This rapid evolution that society has undergone has hit the youth demographic the hardest. The world we are training to enter is changing. The preparations that we undergo to get ready for life as adults must evolve.
The school currently offers three technology-based courses: Introduction to Computers, Computer Keyboarding and Web Design. According to the school handbook, the Introduction to Computers course offers students instruction in “word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentation software, graphics, graphic editing and html,” all necessary skills. Limited class space and scheduling conflicts make it impossible to teach every student with a single class devoted to technology.
Freestyle High was created to teach students in the digital media arts, but logistical difficulties make it tough for a student only wanting to feel more comfortable using his or her computer.
Kids often get stuck taking notes and working on handouts. In some classes like math, the problem is unavoidable, since there are very few chances to integrate computers into the course.
Other classes like English and most languages have opportunities to incorporate technology. Many English classes already go to the computer lab on occasion and are given quick lessons on how to search databases and use certain programs. But more can be done.
Many classes have presentations, where students practice gathering information and synthesizing some meaningful summary and analysis. Most of the time, presentations are created with pens and posters, a practice better suited for an elementary school project. Instead, teachers should encourage the students to create PowerPoint presentations or other multimedia alternatives, which are the standard practice in the professional world.
“We could have more technology-based products like movies, PowerPoints etc.,” junior Neil Swarup said. “The knowledge of how to use these skills, PowerPoint especially, is useful in a lot of job-like environments.”
In addition to picking up technical skills, students also can achieve higher qualities of work by utilizing these new tools.
“When we are given a poster project, it never looks as good as a well-laid out computer printout,” Neil said. “Using a computer for projects forces people to do a better job since it is harder to throw something together.”
Teachers also can find help in teaching these technical skills from students in the class that are already proficient with said technologies. Kids who have already learned the necessary skills can pass on knowledge to their peers. This not only takes stress off the teacher who usually must deal with an army of students, but can build class unity as students work together to become stronger as an academic community.
The world demands that its residents keep up with current standards or be pushed aside. Unless you are Amish or walk on four limbs, technology is ingrained in our world. The school is in charge of giving us the necessary skills to succeed in the future. Thus, the school should help its students prepare to adapt to changes in technology in a rapidly evolving world.