By Michael Ahearne ’14
The decision to start using Tablet computers has changed how Brophy works and teaches.
Brophy has been through a few different computer models, getting the newer version every year for the students.
The decision to start using the Tablets was one made by the school administrators and the technology staff.
“It was something we always looked at,” said Systems Administrator Mr. Mark Pettit.
“We always looked at a 1-to-1 solution, having one computer per student, so when the Tablet was introduced, that is pen enabled computing device, that’s what made it really worthwhile to go ahead and take the next step.”
The class of 2010 was the first Brophy freshman class to receive tablets, receiving the Toshiba Tecra M4.
The Toshiba Tecra was larger but otherwise similar in shape and performance to the laptops sophomores, juniors and seniors have.
The main differences between the Toshiba computers have been small tweaks such as better quality, fixed flaws and upgraded memory.
The Toshiba Tecra line and the Lenovo X220T, on the other hand, are very different when compared to each other.
The Toshiba Tecras weigh more and are taller, but have less depth and width than the Lenovo X220T.
The Toshibas had Windows XP on them, while the Lenovo X220T has Windows 7 Professional.
The Lenovo has about four times as much memory as the Tecra, and the Lenovo has a little more than three times as much storage than the Toshibas.
“As technology improves, they get a little bit faster, they get a little more efficient, but between the last model of Toshiba, and this current model, I bet the students wouldn’t see any differences,” Mr. Pettit said.
The Toshiba M780, the current sophomore computers, and the Lenovo X220T are fairly similar, so it wouldn’t be hard for students to use either computer, because both run very similar programs.
When asked about the future options for computers such as iPads and Android tablets, Network Administrator Mr. Wess Housh said laptop-style Tablets may not be permanent.
“We are continually looking for the Tablet. We have a couple of demos in right now that are Android based… We are definitely looking that way, but like the iPad, it doesn’t have a stylus so you can’t write. We are definitely looking in that direction,” he said.
Brophy teaching, learning methods changing over time
By Michael Ahearne ’14
Students use their Tablets almost all the time; during break, during lunch or outside of school.
In a matter of five years, since Brophy launched the Tablet program the school has become significantly more technology based.
But what was it like before the Tablets? How did Brophy students learn and how did teachers used to teach?
Teachers report some things have changed dramatically, and some things have not changed at all.
According to AP Psychology teacher Mr. Matt Williams ’07, Brophy life was less technology focused. Brophy still had BlackBoard and the Info Commons was still busy, but the atmosphere was different.
During break and lunch, more people would be talking, moving around and playing sports such as ultimate Frisbee.
According to Mr. Williams, even though students didn’t have Tablets to distract them, they still became distracted by talking, using their phones and by doodling in class.
Studying and learning was also very different, even though Brophy hasn’t had the Tablets for long.
According to English II teacher Mr. John Damaso ’97, teachers varied their techniques.
The classes were a lot more teacher-centered, with discussions in class being led by the teacher.
Classes like math were also a little different.
“They would lecture and do examples of math on the whiteboard,” Mr. Damaso said. “I remember going up to the whiteboard and working out problems, and then doing nightly math homework from the textbook, on paper with pen and pencil,”
Biology also had more labs, but still had lectures in it.
There was some use of videos, clips or movies, but not a lot due to the availability.
Group projects were not as common because communication was difficult, but there were still video projects.
The teaching methods were also different from today’s Tablet-centered teaching.
According to Mr. John Chambers, the courses were a lot more textbook-driven.