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The Dark Ages: What Was CB Like Before Technology?

Technology is more important now than it ever has been. Digital learning aside, we depend on Schoology and PowerSchool for almost everything we do at school. Within minutes of a Schoology crash, the entire school is aware of the inconvenience. But how did Falcons function before this luxury? If you ask any given CB honors […]

Technology is more important now than it ever has been. Digital learning aside, we depend on Schoology and PowerSchool for almost everything we do at school. Within minutes of a Schoology crash, the entire school is aware of the inconvenience. But how did Falcons function before this luxury?

If you ask any given CB honors student their current English grade, most likely, they could tell you the letter, if not the percentage, without even thinking about it. Last week, I checked my grades in the Target checkout line using the same device I use to play Subway Surfers. 

CB Spanish teacherMr. Tomas Capogreco ‘86 says that checking your grades hasn’t always been commonplace. “I didn’t know what my grade was until I got my report card.” Report cards came in the mail four times a year. 

If students were more eager to know their grades, religious studies teacher Mr. Thomas Guro ‘03 told me via a Schoology message that some teachers taught students how to calculate them because, back then, “there was no way of knowing a grade unless you tracked it in your notebook or some way yourself.” 

Without Schoology, Mr. Guro had to rely on his planner to remember his assignments

When he was a student, Mr. Guro wrote his assignments on a paper planner. This system wasn’t perfect, however, “I remember standing at my locker at the end of the day going through all the sets in my head as I would also forget to write in the planner.”

Teachers also put effort into letting students know what assignments they had.“That’s where I used to write my assignments,” Mr. Capogreco gestures to a square section to the left of his board taped off with blue painter’s tape, “and the kids would copy them down.”

The old system came with a lot of disadvantages for teachers and students alike. Mr. Capogreco says that before, students could have no idea they are failing and then “boom it’s grade time and they just found out they have an F.” 

When students have quick access to their grades, they can monitor their progress and make sure they are keeping their grades up. Schoology also provides easy communication between teachers and students. Mr. Capogreco says he gets messages all the time letting him know that students don’t understand something. 

PowerSchool also does all the grade calculations that teachers used to have to do themselves with a calculator and paper. 

Literally I enter my grades into the grading program and it keeps track of everything,” Mr. Capogreco said of PowerSchool’s ease. “Ot does all the adding, subtracting, dividing — I don’t have to keep track of any of that.”

Quick access to grades also comes with its downsides. Pretty much all CB students can relate to the feeling of dread produced when that A grade moves further down the alphabet. Mr. Capogreco has watched students become more stressed as the process of checking grades becomes easier.

“They have become obsessed with looking at their grades constantly, whereas before, they never had that opportunity, so it never just occurred to them to check on their grade every day”

As colleges become more difficult to get into, students become increasingly neurotic when it comes to checking their grades. Mr. Capogreco warns students not to worry so much about what colleges they are getting into, and stresses the importance of maintaining IRL relationships. 

“I remember whenever we’d have downtime in class, it would just be lively conversation and kids chatting all over the classroom” and now, he says  “sometimes it’s like ‘okay you guys have free time’ and it’s silent and everyone is either on their iPad or their phone instead of communicating with one another”

Ciara Wanket ‘14 was at CB during the transition into the iPad program, and says that the hardest thing was resisting the temptation to play games in class. She said the transition wasn’t difficult.

“It was just my last year, so I just had an iPad and it wasn’t super well integrated yet.”

Her iPad was especially helpful in Biology, making it easier to learn and see slides, noting that she “liked taking notes on the iPad because you can edit and delete” 

All things considered, iPads bring a lot of convenience to our school day. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you are failing, if you are forgetting an assignment, or if you will be able to get a hold of your teacher. There are a lot of things that we don’t have to worry about, and technology has saved our education during this pandemic. 

That being said, students should remember to unplug every so often, and make real connection with each other — in a socially distant manner, of course.

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