On the Shortage of Technology at Wylie

Emy J. Pablico, Staff Writer

Technology is embedded in nearly every facet of everyday life whether you like or not, so much so that technology has become integrated into schools on an international scale. Numerous schools use iPads or Chromebooks, digital textbooks or online programs, or websites to engage their students. At Wylie, however, technology is incredibly limited.

In comparison to other schools, Wylie is behind—not just on a local level, but on a national scale as well. Thousands of school districts have made initiatives to become one-to-one schools: schools that provide all students with one device per student. In a 2018 survey, the Consortium for School Networking found that 49% of school districts have one device per student. Although the high school has a few classes that have classrooms based in computer labs, these labs are not available for all classes to use, leaving solely three computer labs to over 1,000 students.

This limited availability creates an even greater issue because some classes require frequent computer lab occupation which means even fewer labs are open for use. Another issue arises from computer lab use apart from limited availability: problematic computers. Many computers fail to start or function at such a slow pace that they hinder classwork

Courtesy of the University of Phoenix

and progress. Many teachers have noted that although they would like to use the labs, these problems are so severe and cause such an inconvenience to productivity that they avoid lab use altogether. One of the three computer labs at Wylie High School runs so inefficiently, numerous teachers hardly recognize it as a lab for use. The iPad cart, on the other hand, has efficiently functioning devices but is even more limited in availability with roughly thirty iPads for use. Only one teacher can use the iPad cart during any given period, but since many teachers’ lesson plans are the same in each class period, the cart is limited to only one teacher per day.

Many teachers are encouraged to integrate technology into their lessons; however, the limited resources available for this to occur has prompted almost all teachers to stick to strictly books and papers. Usage of pen and paper is traditional, but technology improves learning according to a Cambridge International assessment of global education.  In a survey by the NewSchools Venture Fund, 42% of students, 64% of teachers, 73% of principals, and 66% of administrators would like to use digital learning tools more often. These sentiments are shared with various students and teachers at Wylie High School. The desire to expand in the realm of technology has posed a greater question: Should we work to bring more technology into school?

Although a large number of teachers and an overwhelming quantity of students would like more technology in the classroom, some teachers believe that increased technology in the school would create more harm than good. These opinions are rooted in numerous studies that highlight concerns over the negative effects of screens on the brain, especially the developing brain. These effects include not just blurred vision, eye strain, and disrupted sleep cycles but also critical thinking and information processing; however, because technology and screen usage are issues unique to the Internet age, it is not possible to know the exact long-term effects.

Regardless of what your opinion may be, it is obvious that Wylie is behind technologically, and only time will tell if and when Wylie will make amends to this fact.