By Jackson Santy ’13
In 2006 Brophy jumped into the technological education world by introducing the Tablet PC program on campus.
Brophy’s class of 2010 was the first class to be introduced to the Toshiba laptops.
Now, in 2012, there are currently more than 1,300 Tablet PCs throughout the campus.
According to the Brophy website, the school’s technology program “aims to use leading-edge technologies to enhance the high quality learning experience.”
Yet despite the fact that the Tablet program provides students with new learning opportunities and tools, students and teachers said in an age of what some see as technology excess, it also is a potential distraction in class.
“We put a machine in front of you with a myriad of capabilities all on a screen facing the student and not the teacher,” said Assistant Principal for Curriculum and Instruction Mr. Seamus Walsh. “It’s a portal to an opportunity for distraction.”
“Any Brophy student or young person in general would say they play games in class because they’re bored or because the game is more interesting than what’s going on in class,” Mr. Walsh said. “It’s like if you put a bag of M&Ms and a bag of carrots in front of a kid and ask them which tastes better rather than which is better for you.”
Student gaming in class is a JUG-able offense and teachers across campus have unique yet similar insights in the prevention of gaming in their classes.
When asked approximately how many students she had caught gaming during her time at Brophy, English teacher Ms. Lauren Karp could not help but laugh.
“My first year at Brophy, I didn’t know how to handle the Tablets so the gaming was rampant,” Ms. Karp said. “This year I’ve been much stricter with my Tablet policy so not as many.”
“Sitting in a classroom all day, I think that it’s hard not to veer towards some sort of distraction,” Ms. Karp said. “It’s a little hard having what is essentially the same kind of computer processing as their video game system at home, right at their fingertips, ready to use.”
“It just happens to be video games are a much more intense distraction and can actually cause students to not hear what’s going on in class because they’re too focused on scoring points or trying to catch that last Pokémon,” she said.
Mr. Joe Klein ’86 has seen in-class distractions on both sides of the spectrum, being a student at Brophy and a veteran teacher.
“In my day and age when I was a student, people would have magazines or comic books,” Mr. Klein said. “Nowadays, you have tablets at your fingertips that’ll take you anywhere.”
Mr. Klein’s in-class Tablet use policy for students requires all students to be in “Tablet Mode,” meaning the screen folded down and the keyboard covered, unless he permits during a class activity or else they don’t use them at all.
Although Mr. Klein said believes this policy is efficient, teachers and students have to – like anything else – follow through and make sure they are diligent with that efficiency.
Otherwise, the effects of students gaming in class tend to add up.
“They’re inevitably going to miss something of importance and would have to rely on their peers to get the missed information, in the long run it’ll show up on a quiz or a test,” Mr. Klein said.
Students agree that gaming is a prominent activity at Brophy and also agree that its effects are less than positive.
“When life gives you lemons you make lemonade right?” said Wade Hoyt ’12. “Well when school gives you computers, you play games.”
Last semester Brophy rolled out a new software program called LanSchool, which is designed to allow teachers to monitor computer activity and actually see the desktops of students in their classes.
The program can be used to foster collaboration by displaying students’ screens on a projector in the class, or even broadcast to other computers. And it can also be used as a classroom management tool for teachers to keep students off of games and on task.
Still, at the time not all students were excited about this.
“I do not like it because I pay attention in class, I also take notes, I just don’t like the fact that a teacher can look at my computer any time,” said Dylan Francis ’14 in a previous interview with The Roundup.
But teachers said the point was not to be able to micro-manage students’ computer use.
“I think sometimes students get the bad impression that we’re going to go home at 8 p.m. at night and check on them, which we really can’t do anyway, but none of us would be interested in doing. It’s just to make sure that when you’re in class you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing in class,” Mr. Andrew Bradley said.