Students weigh benefits of personal PC
By James “Buffalo” Saint-Amour ’10 & Ulises Araiza ’11
Welcome to Classroom 2.0.
This year’s incoming freshmen make up the fourth “Tablet class,” marking the first year in Brophy history that all four classes are equipped with personal computers.
The Tablets have proven successful in helping to facilitate school research, but have also been a drag at times when it comes to reliability and overall productivity.
Today’s Brophy is a far cry from what it was in 2000, when it only had 100 desktop computers, one smartboard and one projector, said Systems Administrator Mr. Mark Pettit.
In a school now dominated by the Tablet PC, it is hard to visualize the past without them.
With their many advantages including e-books, the Internet, Microsoft Office and in the case of the newer tablets, a webcam, the Tablet PC becomes the all-in-one machine for school.
But despite all these tools, the Tablets are not without their faults.
Everyone remembers the day a couple weeks before their freshmen year when they were slotted to pick up their Tablet.
“Awesome,” said Brophy student Geoff Lichtenberger ’10, when reflecting on his feelings on the Tablet program his freshmen year “(It was) the greatest thing ever.”
But over the span of four years at Brophy his views have begun to change.
“I hate it,” Lichtenberger said when asked about the program now. He added that he believes it helped contribute to his inability to study and focus.
And it is not just the distraction of the computers that has students frustrated; maintenance and performance issues have students flooding in and out of K13.
“It’s slow, and freezes and stops a lot,” Lichtenberger said.
“Way too often,” said Brophy student Jeff Westling ’10 when asked about how often he is in room K13 with Mr Pettit for repairs. “I am currently at the top of the list for how many times I have been in there to get a computer fixed.”
Although students tend to blame their misfortunes on the Tablet itself, many of the problems reported stem from student abuse.
Mr. Pettit said that many issues brought to him come from physical damage, such as dropping the Tablet.
He explained that if you put something in the hands of a teenager, naturally it will get banged up.
Mr. Pettit also said that most of the problems he sees come from downloading free software, which may look free, but comes at a price. Many free items students download off of the Internet come with a virus or malicious software that can be extremely harmful to a Tablet.
Technical problems aside, the Tablet does help with organization, which both Lichtenberger and Westling agree upon.
Lichtenberger said it is easier to keep digital files organized than paper.
Along with organization, the Tablet allows for more creativity in presentations.
“If you were doing a project, you would usually just have colored pencils, but with the Tablet you can make it custom and amazing,” said Danny Graif ’13, referring to a PowerPoint presentation.
For Joseph Cano ’13, the thing he likes most about his Tablet is its touch screen functionality; although he does admit it may be problematic at times.
“If it’s used correctly it can be a better way to learn…,” said Collin Churchill ’10. “The quick access to information makes working a lot easier and a lot faster as opposed to having to go down to the library and looking in books.”
However, not all textbooks are formatted electronically yet, leading many students to spend additional money for the texts they need. Getting access to those online resources has also been problematic lately.
Connecting to the Internet and turning in files are problems for Graif. He said that “it’s the small things that people are having trouble with.”
For reasons like that students such as Westling prefer to turn in their work and take notes the old fashioned way, with paper.
“There were fewer things that I could be distracted by,” Lichtenberger said about pen and paper.
Both students said often this seems like the easiest way to go, especially with the Internet connectivity troubles that occurred at the beginning of the year. This can be frustrating when teachers set deadlines for assignment to be submitted into Web files or e-mail.
However, Westling added that Internet issues tend to start out bad in the beginning of the year and even themselves out after a couple of months.
Mr. Pettit said currently the technology department is working as hard as it can to resolve the wireless issues.
Mr. Pettit said they are working with Intel, Toshiba and Meru, a global networking company, to cope with the networking problems, and Mr. Andy Zamora has just been hired to help with the problems that 350 more Tablets on campus are creating.
Roundup reporter Alex Stanley ’12 contributed to this article.