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MCPS Takes Long-Awaited Steps to Incorporate Modern Technology in Classrooms

Everyday, teens across the world attend school, bringing with them tools such as pencils, notebooks, and textbooks. A new decision in MCPS may add phones and tablets to this list.

This decision was to install Wi-Fi networks to its schools. Even while these networks may not be completely functional or efficient, the potentials presented by this new investment are many.

Among these potentials, the most notable is allowing technological devices to be brought into the classroom for educational purposes. This may revolutionize education.

Richard Montgomery High School Principal Mr. Damon Monteleone says he plans to take advantage of this potential as early as next year.

“The Bring Your Own Device system is something that many schools are starting around the county,” he says.

The system allows students to bring to school their own personal devices, such as phones and tablets, to complete schoolwork. The incorporation of this system has strong economic and educational benefits.

“Purchasing IPads [or laptops] for all the students in this school is not economically efficient,” says Mr. Monteleone.

But letting students bring their own device is realistic. Tasks like research, projects, and reading textbooks can become readily accessible. In a nation where over half of High School students own a smartphone or tablet, it only seems like the right decision.

“We make students buy calculators, and if they can’t afford one, the school provides one to them,” says the RM Principal.

Why not do the same for technology like the IPhone and IPad?  Although many discourage this movement because of the distractions of technology, MCPS students like Marcela Ruano argue that anything can be “distracting”.

“If students have the desire to succeed, they will work.  If they don’t, they will just be distracted, not just by [their phones], but also by everything else,” she says.

Distractions are not something new.

“When I was a child, I remember that students [at my school] would bring calculators and store games on them,” says Mr. Monteleone.

Even folding a piece of paper into an airplane can distract someone.  But pieces of paper are not banned.  They are used in the classroom in order to write essays, do mathematics, memorize facts, and much more.

Surprisingly, however, phones and tablets remain banned from the classroom.  Signs can be found in many MCPS classrooms reading: “No cell phone use in this class room.

So why are cellphones feared as much as parking in unauthorized spaces and smoking cigarettes on campus?

If MCPS schools change its technology policy and let students use their devices in the classroom for educational purposes, this fear may be cured. The decision to add Wi-Fi networks to schools was a good first step.

Albert Einstein High School student Patrick Mendez already sees benefits of the new Wi-Fi network in his school.

“Usually the computer labs are pretty crowded, and having Wi-Fi could give students more opportunities to [do] school work,” he says.

However, the connection to the network in some schools is not that strong.  Elijah Vaughnn, a Richard Montgomery student, has experienced the problems with the network.

“The connection to the Wi-Fi network at the school isn’t that strong, and whenever I try to use it, it asks me to log in,” he says.

These network issues must be addressed for programs like the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) to take full effect.

Changing educational policies may be hard, or even intimidating. But keeping up with the world around us is what has made Montgomery County one of the most high-ranked counties in the nation.

Article by the MoCo Student Staff writer Darian Garcia of Richard Montgomery High School

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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