Too Much Tech?

Technology’s presence in the classroom is constantly changing. With STA students receiving and using their own computers at school it brings about the question: are we using too much technology?



Junior Lydia Solis uses her computer to work on homework.

by Olivia Cooper, Staff Writer

   Freshman Gabby Egan returns home from a long day of school staring at her computer screen. Exhausted she opens her computer to stare at it for another few hours to complete her homework. She finds herself almost wishing to go back to writing on paper as she works, but with the evolution of technology in the classroom, that wish gets farther and farther away.

     College European History teacher, Mike Egner, has been teaching for 48 years and has had first hand experience with the evolution of technology in the classroom. He recalls when he began teaching at STA and students did not have their own personal computers. 

     “I remember when I first started teaching here and students didn’t have laptops, that part of the freshman curriculum was how to take notes in class on spiral notebooks, or legal pads, or whatever they wanted,” Egner said. “That was part of the curriculum because that’s what you had to do in college as well. “When students started getting laptops, gradually students moved into taking notes in laptops, but it didn’t happen overnight.”

     Egner was the first teacher on campus to start using overhead projectors. He bought his classroom a used projector, and subsequently purchased an online website to use in class as well. 

     I was the first person to do that before anybody else at St. Teresa’s had access to the web,” Egner said. “There was so much more online that you could use to add into what you wanted to share with students that students thought was great and so did the administration and everybody else; so they thought well, guess we should do that as well.”

     Egner feels that technology has positively impacted his classes, however, freshman Gabby Egan feels slightly different. She attended St. Thomas More and did not receive personal devices until halfway through her eighth grade year and even then did not have extensive access to them. 

     “We had to keep them [computers] at school at all times, and if we had assignments at night on our computer, we weren’t able to do them,” Egan said. “We would have to wait till the next day or if we were signed in on a computer at home, we could do them that way.”

     While Egan does agree it is much easier getting assignments online, she feels that she works faster writing on paper. Egner said that he still receives one or two students each year who prefer to take notes on paper instead of on their device.

     Both Egner and Egan agree that by having a device it can be easy to become distracted during class, as some students tend to work on other assignments during class time.

     “The only problem with using technology so much in class is that there are students that believe that they can multitask and they get a rude awakening sometimes when they find out that there can’t be mistakes,” Egner said. “As far as students are concerned, that’s a challenge.”

     Egan also said it can feel really overwhelming constantly being on a device all day every day. She said she feels the most overwhelmed when teachers assign all the weeks assignments in one day. She also admitted that when she gets home from school she needs to lie down and let her eyes rest before she can start on her homework. 

     “When I’m home, I usually do my homework later in the night because once I come home I usually just lay down because of how much I’ve been at school,” Egan said. “I usually do my homework later at night to reset my brain.”

     When it came to learning how to use the school’s devices both Egner and Egan felt it came naturally to them, as both of them took classes on how to use their device. Egner participated in teacher in-service, and Egan participated in STA Start Week.

     Both Egner and Egan agree that it is also more efficient to turn assignments in on Teams as opposed to in person. 

    “I feel like I have more time to do stuff because if I forget an assignment, in the morning I can just do it really quickly and then turn it in, which I think is great,” Egan said.

     The evolution of technology in schools can lead to the question: Are schools relying too heavily on the devices in class and websites that are used? Egner believes there is a point when schools do become too dependent on technology.

     “Sometimes schools can become too dependent and lead students and teachers to become too dependent [on technology],” Egner said. “It’s really up to the teachers and the students to use good common sense about how far they can go. Technology’s changing all the time.”

     Egner also noticed that the use of technology at STA sometimes depends on other high schools, and what they decide to implement into classes.

     “We’ve always had the issue here with, okay, if Sion and Rockhurst are doing it, [changing up technology] we should be doing it too,” Egner said. “I don’t think that’s really good logic. But I think schools do that. They want to keep up with whatever other schools are doing.”

     Technology is ever-changing and the evolution of technology will only continue from here. Although Egner does not know what will happen, he knows that things will continue to change. 

     “I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here,” Egner said. “Maybe I don’t know enough about it. But the access to so much online is incredible. It’s phenomenal.”