New Technology: For Better or for Worse?

New Technology: For Better or for Worse?

District 86 recently implemented several new communications tools and upgraded existing technologies. Although the progression to more advanced programs was intended to make both students and staff more efficient, quite the opposite has been seen. These past few weeks, administrators and staff have been adjusting to the new technology and are hoping that they will soon conquer the learning curve that is inevitable when introducing new technology.

Of the new additions the district has implemented, the one most concerning to students seems to be the new website and an overall transition from Sharepoint to various Google Apps for Education (GAFE).

D86 launched the new website on August 12 and has added content to it daily. Some of the functions the website hones are new displays, enhanced graphics and visuals, calendars that can be downloaded, and much more. A release date for “Phase II” of the website, which will be more compatible with larger screens, has been set for early October.

In addition to this, the district upgraded its email server to Outlook 365, forcing students to abandon all emails and important information prior to the transfer. Although the students were warned of this and advised to save any important emails in advance, many have had difficult times recovering old data.

“I had my AP tests information sent to my email and when I went to check it out it was gone,” said Kate Gallo, senior. “I eventually found it, but it was a hassle.”

Students and staff have also had to adjust to new programs run by (GAFE). After several years of dealing with malfunctions and technical difficulties onset by Sharepoint, most teachers have turned to some system run by Google for their websites. Two of the most common programs teachers have been using are Google Classroom and Google Drive, both of which have been running fairly well.

Nearly every teacher has sought out Mr. Frees of the math department for help with difficulties using the Google Apps for Education. Frees explained that he was fairly helpful with the programs the students would be using and helping the teachers set them up; however, there are a handful of other programs teachers have been introduced to this year that even he is having difficulty learning.

“What we want to do is have technology that enhances what we do in the classroom and makes it easier for students to get and give back meaningful information in both directions,” Frees said.