Evolution of Technology Use in Class

By: Julia Michaelson

It is everywhere and evolving fast.

Technology is improving all around the world. Hershey High School is a school moving towards a more technology based learning style. Almost all the students are using it in their classes. Since many jobs are becoming more dependent on technology, it gives HHS students an edge in the work force. Technology is advancing rapidly and HHS’s technology is evolving, too.

How teachers are using technology in class

Brianna Crowley has been teaching English at HHS for eight years. In the last five years she has been using technology. Technology is a part of our culture and she enjoys using it. Crowley likes bringing technology to class that students use everyday in the classroom.

She views technology as a way to give students more freedom and options when doing graded assignments. “All students comprehend information differently…they are now able to present it differently in my class,” said Crowley.

Max Geeting a sophomore at HHS works on his English project in Crowley's class during first period on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Everyone in class that day had to work on a project about dystopian society. Students had a choice of using technology or working on a poster.
Max Geeting, sophomore, works on his English project in Crowley’s class during first period on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. Everyone in class that day had to work on a project about dystopian society. Students had a choice of using technology or working on a poster.

For instance, Crowley gave her students a project where they had to relate multiple books to each other. Instead of everyone doing the same type of project students had the choice of how they wanted to present the information they found. Students were allowed to make a poster, create a PowerPoint, or shoot a video. Everyone had a say in what they do and how they can show an understanding of the topic. This then allowed diversity in the class and pleased everyone’s learning styles.

“Powerful individuals can have more drive doing something they want to do,” said Crowley.

Technology is a very powerful tool we have in society today. Crowley believes that it’s just one more way to learn more about ourselves. For instance, creativity is a state of mind and technology is another way to see how creative someone can be.

Michael Gustantino is an accounting teacher at HHS and runs the Trojan Trading Post, the school store. He uses the smart board in his class so he can present information, a way students can turn in work, and show students their grades.

“Technology makes things faster and easier,” said Gustantino.

Gustantino uses a smart board and an overhead projector. He uses a wide range of technology because all of the answer keys are suppose to be presented that way and he hasn’t had the time or need to transfer them into a computer. Not only that but he finds students can read the board better that way.

He uses technology for the convenience of his students. Gustantino uses technology not only for teaching, but for running the school store as well. He has the Foursquare app to make transactions for the store easier for students and for him. “Technology has definitely benefitted the school,” said Gustantino.

Technology being used in the real world

Joe Jilka is is the director of technology development at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. He believes that technology is being used more and more in the real world. Jilka sees it first hand too. There is new technology being created to test drugs called High Throughput Sequencing.

High Throughput Sequencing is a system where screen cells against a new drug that has been made. Instead of in the past where doctors could only screen a small amount of cells at a time now thousands, sometimes millions of cells can be looked at at once to see what the drug helps and what it hurts.

Not only does technology make the work faster but also it has allowed doctors to have another resource to use for cure patients. Each institute at the Hershey Medical Center is allowed a technology grant where they can get new technology to improve patients well being. The institutes are able to access their creativity and knowledge to help patients. This goes along with what Crowley was talking about.

“Students who use technology in school are able to take what they learn and apply it in the real world,” said Jilka.

Technology is becoming a major part of jobs today. Jilka said “There are more jobs open to people who have experience with technology.” This can give students at Hershey High School an edge up in the work force since they have been working with technology all throughout high school.

The Hershey Center for Applied Research Center, an extension of the Hershey Medical Center, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. These are the offices where Jilka works at to look at the development of technology throughout the medical center.

Dale Reimann, principal at HHS, agrees with Jilka. “I just see the positives with technology today,” said Reimann. He said students and teachers having easier communication, learning, and organization with technology is beneficial.

Students are having an exposed comfort level with technology. In the elementary school students who are starting to use technology earlier are able to have even more experience with it. Reinmann thinks the earlier you start using technology the better.

“I’m not saying adults aren’t good at using technology…we allow our teachers to have a full period where they can work on technology for themselves and students,” said Reimann.

Hershey’s dedication to technology

Hershey is very dedicated to giving not only their students’ technology education, but their teachers get a full period of expanding their learning with technology. During this period teachers can ask the tech coaches at Hershey for help if needed, whether that be figuring out a new program, teachers want to use to learning how to use their Apple TV.

This period also allows for teachers to get together and expand their comfort level more. Teachers have the ability to look around on the internet and see what other teachers are using in their classes. Crowley said “During this period I can figure out a way to teach using technology and teach out of the textbook.”

Not only that, but almost every time teachers have an in-service day it’s about new technology development in the school. They have the day to learn about how technology is being used in the classrooms. For instance the program’s Google docs, Edmodo and Canvas are talked about often.

Sometimes at these conferences new programs are shown and talked about how the programs work and used in class. Lastly teachers find out about upcoming technology that will be added in some capacity.

Teachers are also allowed to miss school and go to conferences like PETE&C. This is a conference for both students and teachers. Teachers can see new ways to use technology in their classes. Students can present topics here to teachers, so teachers can get an opinion from no only adults, but the kids they are working with, too.

Some teachers take a group of students every year to this conference. Kids can present their knowledge and show teachers what they know about technology as well as what technology programs they like to use.

If teachers want more technology in their classes, they can apply for a grant through the school. Crowley did this and now has Chromebooks, iPads, a smart board and a video camera for use in class. Technology grants allow students and teachers another way to access technology in school.

Students on technology

HHS, Sophomore, Alexis Burston-Green loves using her technology in class. “I have the freedom to do what I want with it,” said Burston-Green. Students like Buston-Green enjoy being able to have all of the tools they need for class with a click of a button. Burston-Green said that technology helps keep her organized. Also it is easier to have one spot to have all your work instead of a bunch of paperwork that can get lost.

Organization is a big thing technology helps with but also Buston-Green enjoys how much of technology is used in class too. “I have more freedom with what I want to do…I don’t feel that restricted,” said Buston-Green.

Burston-Green is not someone who enjoys reading everything out of the textbook. She likes interactive classes. The use of technology has allowed her to have that type of class atmosphere. Green has been very happy with the evolving of technology in class.

“I’m not the only student who likes technology…almost everyone enjoys using what they’re comfortable with,” said Buston-Green.

Bella D’Adderio, right, sophomore at HHS and Burston-Green, left, are in the library at HHS Friday, Sep. 25, 2015. D’Adderio helped Burston-Green make online flashcards of her Acedemic Literacy vocab list. Burston-Green said she sees students seem to enjoy having something they know about in class. “We just want our students to feel like they have some say in what they do,” said Reinnman. Burston-green said that she can see the school, allowing more and more technology freedom every year.

Downsides of technology

Social media and texting are the biggest distractions right now in classes. If it’s right in front of students they don’t even think about using they will just use their devices. Texting in class used to be the only problem, but now there is Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and more.

“There will always be distraction in class…when I was in school it was passing of notes,” said Reimann.

It is about self control and maturity. When students are in elementary school they have more restrictions compared to students in high school. The maturity is different. The more mature students are, the more freedom they get.

Now in school this isn’t so much of a problem as it is in big companies, but lately hacking has been a huge issue. Though as every company does the Hershey Medical Center takes special precaution to make sure that there are no hackers. For their drug developments there are thousands of pages of information the FDA has to approve before the drug is ready for patients. “It’s a very strenuous process,” said Jilka. Everything is checked and corrected dozens of times to make sure all the information is correct. Also hackers can’t hack into paperwork, so the drug development is secure and safe at the Hershey Medical Center.

Though there are always hackers that can hack into patients’ files, but Jilka said that this rarely happens at the medical center. He said he is sure it could happen, but none of that ever really happens. If there was ever that to happen Jilka said that the Medical Center would take care of the situation and be sure to fix it.

What does the future of technology look like?

New inventions and ideas are coming out everyday. Technology will always be improved. Schools like Hershey will eventually start using this technology. Teachers are always looking for new ways to teach and improved technology will help with that.

Both Jilka and Reimann said they see people working together. Whether this be each Institute at the Hershey Medical Center coming together to work on a project or different departments at the Hershey High School working together.

At the Medical Center, Jilka sees there being cures for diseases and with all the institute coming together, he believes that that is very likely. Also with everyone collaborating it won’t be as expensive for the medical center and the patients who stay there. Ideas of improved patient are always added at the medical.

Many types of cancer are close to being cured with the help of new technology developments. With the new technology coming out Jilka also said there will be a faster ways to develop drugs coming soon.

Reimann thinks that if the teachers come together with their technology use students will get the same learning experience as fellow classmates even if they don’t all have the same teacher. Creativity will still be there, but there will be more unified teaching.

“Creative is a state of mind; technology just allows you to access it differently,” said Crowley.