Saturday, January 8, 2011

North Salinas High looks at technology rules

By GABRIEL GOLUB
North Salinas High School

After closely observing students’ use of technology during the past year, officials at North Salinas High School are considering new and tougher policies regarding iPods, cell phones, and other personal tech devices.

During each school year teachers confiscate a myriad of electronic appliances due to their abuse on school grounds.

Larry Torrance, a history teacher at North Salinas High said that “cell phones, iPods, mp3s, and other new, small electronic devices are unnecessary and very distracting to students in the classroom.”

Torrance said he believes students should not be allowed to bring such items into school.

Other school officials lean toward this view. Bryan Robinson, who works as a counselor, said he believes personal technology is a “hindrance to learning.”

Not surprisingly, students have a different view, and some believe that some of the devices might be beneficial in the classroom.

Karla Trejo, a sophomore, said technology is helpful to students because of its accessibility and portability. Some students find it relaxing either to be able to communicate with one another or perhaps listen to music as they work.

However, school officials are uncovering problems, such as cheating.

Students may turn to their phones or iPods to search for answers to a test or quiz, and are usually not caught in the act.

Students can easily save answers on their phone or ask friends for answers.

One North Salinas parent, Margaret Irwin, said that some kids found ways to cheat even in the early days of electronic gadgetry.

She recalled that some classmates used electric calculators to display answers during quizzes.

The jury is still out on whether personal technology in the classroom has a negative effect on students’ ability to learn. Officials at North Salinas High continue to study the issue.

Monterey County Herald, 1/8/11, Page A3.

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