Mia Penner, Grade 11, Co-Editor-in-Chief
If there is one good thing to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic, it may be the advent of modern technology at the High School of American Studies.
Before school went online, HSAS was largely a relic of the past. Broken SMART Boards lined the classroom walls, and students completed most of their assignments with pen and paper. Few teachers made regular use of online learning tools like Google Classroom. The Coronavirus pandemic has seemingly changed all of that.
The unforeseen school closure on March 13, 2020, forced schools across the country to quickly adapt to online learning platforms with little preparation. The result was a difficult transition to remote school for both students and teachers. “It has definitely been an adjustment,” said Charles Evans, an American History teacher at HSAS. “I had never used many of these computer programs before and some are still a challenge.”
However, educational technology eventually proved to have considerable benefits. “It’s nice to have all of my notes on my computer, in one place. It’s definitely helped me stay organized,” said Bernard Condon, a junior at HSAS. “I also think that having all of my assignments on Google Classroom has helped with organization.”
Students are not alone in this outlook; many teachers at HSAS also found technology to be beneficial in the classroom. “I actually like uploading videos to YouTube,” said Evans. “I think it’s an expeditious way of getting through a lot of material.”
It seems that the increased use of technology at HSAS may be a lasting legacy of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many teachers say they will continue to use online learning platforms once the pandemic ends. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to use Google Classroom in the future mostly to post assignments,” said Evans. “I’m also pretty sure I’m going to continue using YouTube to post mini-lessons on material that I might not have had a chance to cover in class.”
This may not be an isolated phenomenon. Teachers across the country seem to be more willing and able to integrate technology into their classrooms as a result of the pandemic. According to EducationWeek Research Center, 87 percent of teachers say that their ability to effectively use educational technology has improved since schools closed. The same study found that 58 percent of teachers say their opinion of educational technology has improved due to Coronavirus shutdowns.
The pandemic has undoubtedly proven the value of technology in education. However, funding barriers will prevent a complete technological revolution at HSAS. The COVID-19 economic crisis hit New York City especially hard, and much of the burden fell on the city’s education system. In July, NYC’s education budget was cut by $707 million. New York City public schools, therefore, are unlikely to gain access to costly educational technology. Still, HSAS teachers are expected to continue using free online learning tools, which include Google Classroom and YouTube as well as other educational platforms.
The increased use of technology in schools may have positive ramifications beyond the classroom. Technology has become the lifeblood of the American economy, and the tech industry is expected to grow more than any other industry in the next decade. By incorporating more technology into the classroom, HSAS will help prepare students to succeed in an increasingly digital world.
The birth of modern technology at HSAS may be one of the few positive consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic. “I think before virtual education, we underutilized a lot of technology as a school,” said Evans. “I think the silver lining to come out of all this is learning a lot of new tools that can be useful going forward.”
By anonymous HSAS student
Pencils are being swapped with styluses and paper with iPads in this new digitalized world we have come to know a bit too well.