Next year the average desk of a Holliston High School student could contain
pencils, pens, binders, notebooks, worksheets and… a laptop? The current
rules of Holliston High School ban students from using their own laptops in
class, but beginning January 25th 2012 students will be allowed to use
laptops and other portable devices in the class when the teacher approves.
The next step in the plan to integrate technology into the classrooms of
Holliston will require all students to have a laptop on the first day of
the next school year.
Ultimately, the goal of this new program is to “allow students to be
skilled at using technology to manage their academic life,” according to
the Principal Mr. Cournoyer. The change was brought about because Mr.
Cournoyer sees teaching students how to use technology as one the
responsibilities of HHS. Mr Cournoyer says, “One of our biggest
responsibilities is preparing students for life after high school, and life
after high school for almost anybody involves lots and lots of technology.
If we continue to ban the use of computers we are doing a disservice to
Mr. Cournoyer believes that the lack of availability of computers for
students at school is an issue that our school faces. He says that this
lack of in-school computer time means that computer use is seen as a treat
for students, when this isn’t the case in the real world. He wants students
to be able to “use the computer as a productivity tool in school as they do
out of school.”
Sophomore Meghan Holland does believe that the school has some problems
with their computers. According to Holland, some of the computers in the
computer labs “have been vandalized. In some of the computer labs people
don’t treat computers as they should.” However, she does not believe that
there are too few computers at the school. Holland says that she thinks
that “the school has enough computers without every kid having a laptop.”
Mr. Cournoyer says that he does not think that the relationship between
students and teachers in the classroom will change that much due to the
changes in laptop policy. But says that outside of class the role of
students will change “quite a bit.” He believes that the role of students
will change so that students will learn most of the information that they
need to at home and apply it at school. “The goal of a teacher is to show
how you’ll apply what you’re learning. This [will allow] the in class
discussion to be more meaningful,” states Mr. Cournoyer.
Meghan Holland thinks that technology will affect students in a different
way while they are in the classroom. She believes that “students will be
less focused because we [will] have laptops to distract [them].” She says
that the use of laptops in classrooms will make learning “more virtual.”
Holland adds that “I don’t like that. I like more traditional teaching.”
She also thinks that using computers in class will “Be different, but after
a few months I [will] get used to it.”
Mr. Cournoyer realizes that laptops can sometimes serve as a distraction.
But the administration also acknowledges that “We curb student distraction,
we believe, not by restricting technology, but by providing students with
engaging learning experiences and proper classroom supervision,” adding
that “What looks like a distraction to us can sometimes be a legitimate use
of a 21st Century communication tool.”
Students will be in charge of making sure that their laptops are secure
throughout the day, and are encouraged by the administration to store the
devices in their lockers when they are not in use. Holland is not overly
concerned about the security of her device in school. “I’m concerned
because it’s an expensive piece of equipment, but if everyone has one
you’re more likely to trust people,” explains Holland.
In the end Mr. Cournoyer believes that this measure is one that “will make
everyone’s lives easier and more productive.”
There was an informational meeting on January 5th for students to learn
about the new policy. Students were overwhelmingly displeased with the new
policy, sparking debates in classes over the proposed policy.