Computerized campus adjusts to learning curve

By Daniel Robb ’10
The Roundup

Illustration by Kevin Donley ’11 Students have found success and frustrations with the Tablet PC program.
Illustration by Kevin Donley ’11 Students have found success and frustrations with the Tablet PC program.

Three years ago, I was one of a few hundred green Brophy freshmen standing in line to collect their computers as part of the new Tablet program.

We have since had the unique experience of watching the program evolve from being a class-exclusive experience to being a school-wide phenomenon.

Every twist and turn along the way has given insight as to the successfulness of the program, revealing many costs and benefits.

But is it a good tool for school?  Perhaps not yet.

If the past three years have been any evidence, there is a lot to learn in order to make this program a positive addition to the school experience.

From my own observations, classroom use has been sporadic, and when used, usually a little awkward.  It may take some getting used to.

The Internet is an amazing tool, but it too has its problems in this setting.

In a school with more than 1,000 students connecting to the Internet, connectivity is difficult to acquire, and usually relatively slow.

And I will be the first to say that the attempts at regulating usage have been failed experiments.

The Internet filters are easily bypassed, making the students who goof off simply slower at it.

Also, I know of certain pages that aren’t blocked, which happen to be very popular entertainment Web sites.  And while these are unblocked, there are legitimate informative intellectual blogs which remain inaccessible.

For the money spent on the regulating systems, it simply does not seem worth it.

At the beginning of the program, the Brophy administration promised that the cost of the computer would be paid for by the money saved in the absence of books.  So far this seems to be a half-truth.

I know that personally I had to buy several books this year, leaving me with a sizeable bill.

But all of these drawbacks may only be temporary.  It is an extremely new experiment, naturally uncomfortable for those involved.

Despite all of the problems, I think the Tablet program has a bright future.  Most of these problems have come about because we are exploring new grounds.

The wealth of information on the Internet and the networking brought about by it can be extremely beneficial.  It can keep groups of friends connected, as well as students and teachers.

As those involved become more comfortable with the program, it will greatly enrich the school experience, in spite of its stumbling start.