As the teacher turns off the lights, all eyes are fixed on the new projector hanging from the ceiling. Working with their new iPads, the students are told to take notes, while a new sound system blasts instructions on how to cross-divide. Welcome to the classroom of the future.
The Clark County School District plans to incorporate more advanced technology, including new computers, projectors and sound systems, into classrooms by June 30, 2013, in an effort to encourage students to participate more, integrate student populations, lower the high school dropout rate and increase academic performance in subjects such as math and English.
“I think these technologies are necessary for the classrooms,” Green Valley High School Assistant Principal Mark Greenberg said. “Computers have always been a part of (this generation’s) life. For a classroom not to have that, they are missing a major way of teaching.”
As with many of the other high schools in the district, Green Valley classrooms have received new projector systems, projector screens, sound systems and microphones to accompany more traditional teaching tools. Greenberg acknowledges there have been some technical glitches with the new technology.
“I wish they put more high-quality stuff in though, because we have already been having problems,” Greenberg said. “Right now, there is no source of fixing (these problems), which is frustrating.”
Alec Wolfson, a junior at Coronado High School, said these technological updates are beneficial to the learning environment.
“I am a tech-y guy,” Wolfson said. “I text ChaCha if I have a problem, and Google always has the answer. I mean even these days I can go on YouTube for a math tutorial if I am struggling. It is just the society we live in and I feel like schools are recognizing that.”
All of these advancements in the technological sphere of local high school education have spurred debates over funds and school budget cuts. Alexander Reininger, a junior at Silverado High School, said he believes these funds should be spent elsewhere.
“They are spending money on the stupidest stuff,” Reininger said. “I mean, our old projectors worked perfectly fine. Why don’t they use the money for other things, like arts programs?”
An increase in academic technology is evident at Silverado.
“I was really shocked seeing the freshmen at my school using these iPads,” Reininger said. “I thought we were going through a so-called budget crisis.”
Coronado also is one of the schools that will be incorporating iPad technology into classrooms. Wolfson called the technology unnecessary but said he believes that it will boost test scores.
“The school district should not be spending its money on iPads,” Wolfson said. “They should be spending their money on better things, such as teachers’ wages and other supplies. Nonetheless, I will get the chance to work with them in my math and English classes, so I am excited to see if they will help.”R-Jeneration