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Online overtakes paper assignments

Sophomore Kai Keller studies for class. Photo by Bella Ferrari

Over the past few decades, society has made major technological advancements that have changed how people live their lives. Phones suddenly became a necessity for many people, and computers are the workplace’s main tool.

Along with many offices, schools around the country are starting to transfer their school work to a more online platform. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in 2016, 95% of education buildings across the United States use computers.

As technology becomes a useful tool in everyday life, students and staff at Bear River are faced with the decision of whether paper or online based school work is more beneficial.

An infographic published by PBS Learning Media stated that 74% of teachers support technology in classrooms. English Teacher Ray Rice explained how he believes online technology is beneficial for students.

“I think that using the online technology in the classroom helps students to further develop the skills that are needed for the 21st century workplace and advanced education,” he said.

Sophomore Olivia Lyman provided her opinion on why teachers tend to prefer online assignments.

“I believe my teachers do this [have assignments online] so they can better organize assignments, like if the assignments were in on time, and you eliminate the problem of losing the paper,” she said.

Mr. Rice discussed the pros and cons of online work.

“[The positives of having work online include the] ease of student access [and] quizzes can grade themselves, so instant feedback for students,” he said. “[On the other hand], some students will try to find answers online [or] do not have reliable Internet.”

Alli Kouba, a freshman, explained her thoughts on whether she prefers school work online or on paper.

“I like having school work online, because it is easier to navigate how much homework I have to do,” she said. “[Though] I like, on paper, that you can visualize more.”

Another student agreed with Kouba.

“I use my chromebook more often,” said Vincent Ippolito, a junior. “Because we use Google Drive and we’re able to access it almost anywhere, I prefer working on my chromebook.”

Though many support the need for technology in classrooms, Mr. Rice went on to describe how school work on paper is still beneficial, even if most would prefer online assignments.

“[Work on paper] always tests the students’ knowledge and abilities without the possible use of technological assistance and allows for more creative assignments,” he said. “[Though it] limits how far you can take an assignment, especially with research.”

Kouba expressed how some students may have complications with online school work.

“Wifi would become an issue, because so many people would be on the same website at the same time, and it would start to glitch,” she said.

Most students at Bear River are given a school-issued chromebook once they are enrolled into the school. Lyman voiced her opinion on whether these chromebooks are being used to their fullest potential and how these computers can affect a student’s education.

“I don’t believe chromebooks are being used to their fullest potential by every student individually, because, though they are mostly used for doing assignments, they are also used as a source for video games as well as YouTube,” she said. “I think that it is fine that people sometimes use their chromebook for video games, because each student has a responsibility to their grade … People learn better when they make mistakes, not when people force them to do stuff.”

On these chromebooks, a program called iBoss restricts students from accessing different websites that are considered inappropriate. Though, in the process, some websites that are helpful with research are blocked also.

Ippolito explained what he thinks of iBoss.

“iBoss has a pretty good system,” he said. “If you do need to go on a website, you can send in a request of the reason why you want to get on as well as why it should be unblocked if it is blocked.”

Mr. Rice provided his own opinion on whether, as a teacher, he prefers paper or online work.

“I like things to be online … it makes it easier to keep grades, and it allows students to have access to the assignments if they miss class,” he said. “I do still find the need for paper assignments. Some essays and other assignments I like to have done without the help of technology.”

Lyman addressed how online assignments are tied in with the responsibility of a student.

“I think a certain level of responsibility is needed for [each] student … they are responsible for their grade, and, if they don’t listen or do it, then they fail, and that’s on them,” she said. “It’s called tough love.”

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Online overtakes paper assignments