As technology around the world takes giant strides of progression, education seems to be stuck at a crossroads. Living in the post-industrial era, with the average person owning several pieces of personal technology and social media, it has become a perplexing question whether society should allow technology to further consume us, as it has already absorbed many people in Western culture, and whether we should allow for the use of technology to consume education as well. The debate, of whether technology enhances education or rather distracts, is sweeping across the nation at an astounding pace. And with many schools, including our own New Hope-Solebury, adopting bring your own device programs it seems the advancement is inevitable. However, the bring your own device plan still has drawbacks and limitations set on it, such as the safety concerns associated with any form of technology, and many schools are searching for a solution to this problem. However, the bring your own device initiative has still managed to grab the attention of New Hope-Solebury staff and students alike.
The bring your own device policy, which started last year as one of Mrs. Lang’s policies, has been extended this year by our current principal, Mr. Malone. Mr. Malone has been an active proponent for devices in the classroom, encouraging students to use their devices in a positive and productive way, but he also wants students to interact with each other and not constantly be buried in their devices, a problem that has deterred many schools from starting similar programs. In an interview Mr. Malone, he stated that he feels students using their own devices is beneficial because it enables them to be fully comfortable with their device and also allows them to have access to beneficial resources in almost any situation. The program, which has been widely accepted by students, still does face some opposition from teachers and students who appreciate a traditional approach to education; as shown in many classes where pencil and paper are the only options for students. However, technology does seem to be quickly creeping its way into education, which is evident by the abundance of SMART Boards, teacher desktops, new laptop and Chromebook carts and especially through bring your own device programs.
It seems the transition into technology, although facing several hurdles, will inevitably come to schools whether people approve or not. Mr. Malone believes that the problem is not necessarily within technology itself, but within the way people utilize their devices. Mr. Malone wants to urge students against using sites such as ask.fm, where people can anonymously ask questions to any member on the site and has recently been a common cyberbullying platform, and asks instead that students use their technology for beneficial practices, such as research. Principal Malone firmly believes that students need to help their case for technology in schools through proper utilization and that the only way for technology in New Hope to further progress is for students to work with him. We have yet to see whether the risks of safety, exemplified last year by a Snapchat conflict in New Hope, will derail the bring your own device program, but it seems for now its here to stay.