Coursework ramps up with tech integration


IMG_1029wby David Harris
Eagle Staff

In 2007, St. Thomas made a huge step towards improving technology by starting to use the website Edline, where teachers post vital information about their classes. The site enabled teachers to post grades, assignments, LAPs and quizzes, for students to access, view and download.

Several years after the implementation of Edline, the administration decided to become increasingly reliant on technology. In August 2012, the school provided an ASUS Tablet to every student and teacher in order to greatly decrease the amount of paper used in class, and to provide a new and innovative way of learning.

In a world where technology is becoming more and more prevalent, schools have to keep up with the growing trends.

“Although we do not have a paperless society, there is a gradual trend towards that, so part of the school curriculum has to keep abreast of these trends,”  Principal Rev. Patrick Fulton, C.S.B., said.

Recently, the administration made another move to become even more technology dependent. Many of the forms previously used by the administration, especially medical forms,  are now done through an online site called Magnus. If a player gets injured, a coach can access his medical information through an app on their phone. Even simple forms, such as homecoming mum orders, are now done online.

Teachers are increasingly becoming more and more technology oriented. In many classes, students both take quizzes and submit assignments online.

“The online quizzes save me a lot of time because they grade them for me and they automatically update my grade book,”
Dean of Theology Jenny McConnell said.

The theology department is one of the most technology oriented. The only paper administered in these classes is test material.

“The reason that my class is so paperless is because the theology books were already had an online version of the textbook when we got the tablets,” McConnell said.

Many students appreciate the new technology being implemented in classrooms. For the students, it is nice to be able to type homework instead of having to write assignments by hand.

“Online assignments are great because it saves time and it decreases the amount of paper I have to keep up with,” senior Russell Cadle said.

Although using less paper is a great step forward, problems can and do arise with the move to become more intertwined with technology.

“I know that the school is saving a lot of money by posting assignments over Edline, but I wish the school would at least print out our LAPs.’’ Cadle said. “Its hard to organize LAPs on the tablets.”

Some teachers have not adjusted to the tablets, and have no desire to use them in class. They see them as a distraction, rather than a learning aid. Some teachers feel that their subjects are easier to teach and more productive without the distraction of tablets.

Plagiarism and cheating is another problem that has increased due to the new technology in class. Through some quick typing, students can easily find test answers. “From what I have seen, online quizzes also offer many opportunities for students to be dishonest with their work,’’ English teacher Laura Thornton said.

Despite the problems that can arise, increased technology is a step towards the future of education, and St. Thomas is on the cutting edge of the technology front.