An Unplugged School Day
Each day at Apex High school both students and staff use technology for education, entertainment, and communication. Students frantically text their classmates about a forgotten due date, teachers enter grades into Power School, classes do online research for assignments, and everyone checks Twitter for updates and reminders. Classrooms are equipped with laptops, and students have their phones with them at all times. It seems we are rarely without technology, so how different would AHS be if we unplugged?
AHS librarian Mr. Summers works with technology all the time for his job. When asked to describe a school day without technology, he says he can’t even imagine. “What would I do without it? We have the iPads, the computers, and everything like that; I mean so much of what we do in school requires technology!” Although Mr. Summers sees the abundance of benefits to using technology in school, he knows it can also be harmful at times. He explained, “If you’re watching Netflix in class all day long, that could be a problem, but if you’re using it in an authentic way that’s worthwhile and you’re learning, then I think that’s awesome.”
There is such a high dependency on devices and online programs, and many students often take for granted the resources available to them. If AHS unplugged for a day, students may realize how well we have it. Mr. Summers detailed, “It’s so easy to connect with people, work on a paper and not be in the same room, recreate a class experience through a video, or use Google classroom. Without those things you miss a big chunk of what school is really about. However, some people say ‘Oh, we’re on the computers again,’ or ‘Oh, we’re watching a video again,’ or ‘Ugh, we’re doing this project again,’ but imagine what you would be doing if you weren’t using that tech tool.”
President of both history club and DECA at AHS, Melissa Patrocinio utilizes technology to manage clubs and keep up with school work. She mentioned that communication is the key component to running clubs, and technology is what truly enables her to do so. Patrocinio reasoned, “Technology really works for communication in clubs because it’s efficient, students like to use technology, and overall it’s more strategic.” Just as with Mr. Summers, Patrocinio realized an unplugged day at AHS would be insanely offbeat for many reasons. “Using technology is how I’ve learned, and it’s become so ingrained in my head to type out all of my notes, or to use social media to connect with my friends, and even network professionally and academically. To say the least, it would be very different if I didn’t have the technology that I do.”
Contemplating the idea of an unplugged school day often raises the thought of how technology can both help and harm students. Patrocinio expressed her views on this, “I think technology is ninety-nine percent advantageous and one percent disadvantageous. That one percent is being so dependent on it that when the internet crashes or when software isn’t working that you’re not able to complete your work.” She also stated, “Technology is really efficient. You are able to have everything at your hands. You can have your textbooks, your notes, lectures, and PowerPoints all at the tips of your fingers!”
As an AOIT student, John Duffy did not like the sound of an unplugged school day. He explained how access to technology is extremely important to him because he has classes where everything is done online. Duffy describes school without a phone or computer as “really boring because we wouldn’t do anything in our classes!” He brought up how difficult school would be without many of the useful tools including Remind, Canvas, Quizlet, and Power Schools. “I use Quizlet to study for most things, so studying would be much more challenging without technology,” he noted.
Students in AOIT as well as those in CTE classes know technology is what allows for their education every day at AHS. Clubs, classes, teams, events, and daily school functions revolve around a spectrum of electronic resources and devices, so it is evident that a functional day at AHS is highly dependent on technology. Although a digital detox does pose some benefits, technology is what truly allows us to keep up with the fast-paced world in which we live today. Next time you log on to a computer or swipe across your phone screen, imagine how unusual your day would be if you unplugged.