Toshiba out, Lenovo likely in to start next fall
By Brett Mejia ’13 & Tyler Scott ’12
Toshiba has been the face of Brophy technology for years and now Lenovo will likely be replacing the school’s computers.
The incoming freshmen will receive these new Tablets, and the price will be about the same as what previous classes had to pay for the Toshiba units.
“Toshiba is no longer making any pen enabled devices; they’re still making laptops, but not the convertible Tablet that we’re used to, so we had to choose a different manufacturer and things are looking really good for Lenovo, which was formally known as IBM,” said Brophy systems administrator Mr. Mark Pettit.
The Brophy technology department has been keeping up with teachers, asking whether they could do without the Tablet pen, according to Mr. Pettit. For the most part teachers said they prefer the Tablet capability.
“The benefits from having the Tablet, for example today we’re sending e-mails directly to the tourist centers in different countries expecting responses so that we can have direct contact with people from other countries and have direct contact with authentic language, and we can record and it makes things easier,” said Brophy Spanish teacher Ms. Catharine Steffens.
But with all the benefits of personal computers, a new problem can rear its head in the classroom.
With the Internet at their fingertips, students often find themselves distracted during class, which sometimes leads to “Inappropriate Computer Use” or ICUs, which are received when students play games in class or are generally off-task on their computers. ICUs result in two hours of JUG.
The incorporation of the Tablet program made the teachers adapt to the new learning medium.
Some teachers, however, choose not to allow their students to use them.
As Mr. Tom Reithmann says, “I can’t compete with the Internet.”
Other teachers that do not allow students to use their Tablets do so for much the same reasons.
Dr. Sam Ewing said he believes that the cons outweigh the pros of using the Tablets in class.
“They become more of a distraction than a benefit in my experience,” Dr. Ewing said.
He also mentioned that he has tried starting out class with the Tablets once or twice, but inevitably he has to discipline students for being off task.
“You’re there hopefully to dwell and reflect on a topic and having the computer just becomes a distraction,” he said.
Like other teachers, Dr. Ewing sees the benefits of using pencil and paper rather than stylus and screen.
“I see people more focused on the topic at hand and not just relating to me but relating to each other,” Dr. Ewing said. “There’s something about physically writing that is a better way to get the material to stick in your brain.”
But Dr. Ewing understands the positive aspects of the Tablets as well.
He said that they were very useful for doing research or writing papers, just not necessarily during class.
“It’s not like I’m completely opposed to computers, I see it as a tool. But in my classes I see them as potentially doing more harm than good,” he said.
Kyle Padden ’12 had the same opinion as Dr. Ewing.
“The physicality of writing down notes and being totally focused on the task at hand helped me to improve my test scores and overall,” he said. “I prefer pencil and paper.”
On the other side, some teachers such as Mr. John Damaso ’97 see the benefits of the Tablets in the classroom.
“I think it allows students to practice technology that they will likely face in universities or in jobs just so that they feel confident, they know what they’re doing in their next place,” Mr. Damaso said.
Other students say they are satisfied with the fact that they get to use computers rather than pencil and paper.
“It nice to have a laptop because of the technology that we can use for doing school work,” said Edwin Galan ’13.
Mr. Pettit and the technology department are always looking towards the future and the possibility of switching from Tablets to smaller device or something that is greater than the current PCs.
“We are always looking at the iPad type devices, but it’s kind of more likely now, not set in stone, but more likely that we’ll eventually go from the convertible Tablet design to a more mobile device like an iPhone or Google phone,” Mr. Pettit said.