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Friday, October 20, 2017

Galileo Academy of Science and … Technology?!?!?

by Ahmed Elmahy


Although the title may seem a bit harsh, it is quite frustrating for me as a student to have to deal with multiple technological issues when your school’s name asserts that it is an academy of technology. From outdated computers that barely work or don’t have enough disk space to a consistently weak internet connection, I don’t really feel that anything in the school suggests that it is technologically advanced in any way. Although, there are probably reasons beyond the school’s power that are behind these issues, so the school isn’t really to blame; the level of technology at our school has on multiple occasions led me to ask myself how Gal got the title of ‘academy of technology’ in the first place. This prompts me to ask: what is expected from an academy of technology?

First, I would expect a school of technology to have laptops for every classroom. I mean, I believe that is the least expectation I should have. Instead, Galileo offers two or three carts full of laptops that over 150 teachers get to fight over. While we do have multiple computer labs, that is still very insufficient and unworthy of a school of technology. Students are expected to do many things online, like type their assignments, yet, we are limited to doing most of this at home. Sometimes lessons that teachers plan are compromised due to either technical difficulties or a lack of computers to work with. For example, in journalism, we are expected to write articles as the main objective of the class. However, we do not have any computers to work with. This leads us to go to the computer lab to work, and occasionally deal with teachers that are unwilling to allow us to do our work although we are not disturbing their class. This leads to great inefficiency and annoyance for us the students, and backlash for the entire school for our work is hindered by this major obstacle.

Second, I would expect the school to have wireless printing. I feel that this should be essential at any school of technology for it reflects the day and age we live in. However, in the case of Galileo, I would simply ask for working printers in general (go to the article “The Daily Struggle” for more information on this). Wireless printing would help speed up the process of getting work done, and getting things printed out. It is much more efficient to print things from my phone or from a laptop at school then to go to a computer lab or use a cable to print.

Finally, I would expect a school of technology to have smartboards for every classroom. First there were the blackboards, then there were the whiteboards, and now there are the smartboards. However, for some odd reason, we had trouble transitioning from blackboards to whiteboards until recently. Smartboards are present in some classrooms, but even those present tend to have many technical issues. Smartboards in every classroom would help enhance the learning experience and lead students to learn in a more efficient and interactive way. I personally see that teachers who have smartboards have an easier time teaching and explaining things as they are capable of drawing, shifting, and graphing things that they otherwise couldn’t do on a normal board.

I expect an academy of technology to actually have some modern technology. Instead, Galileo is stuck with technology that is a couple of generations old. Someone can argue that the recently bought drones are a sign of Galileo’s technological advancement, but let me ask you this: how will that benefit Galileo as a whole? The most likely answer is “it won’t”.

To be honest, Gal has allowed for more access to computer labs at lunch over the last month, but the computer lab is usually closed to students both at lunch and afterschool due to a supposed lack of supervision and the mess that students produce. Yet, many students need to print things out during these times (lunch especially) and it is difficult to get access to a computer and a printer elsewhere in the school. The main purpose of the computer lab is for students to utilize it for their academics, and what is the point of having such a big computer lab if students only have limited access to it. I just recently wrote an article talking about the struggle to print at Gal, yet I didn’t mention that the lack of access to the computer lab is a large contributor to why it is hard to print at school. A majority of students who have homework to print are forced to go print during that 30 minute window before school when the lab is open, leading to the issues that I described with the printers. Not only that, but many students need to finish their assignments before printing them, and how are they supposed to finish their assignments when they cannot find a computer to work on? The school should establish a reliable system where there is sufficient supervision at the computer lab, as well as a method to punish students who break the clear rules of the computer lab.

Talking about rules, one must recognize the fact that there are a usual group of people who invade the computer lab to play on the computers. That isn’t the purpose of the computer lab, so I think that it is fair to enforce the rule where the computers are to be used for only academic purposes. This would not only calm-down the atmosphere of the lab, but it would also minimize the amount of messes made, while also opening up more computers for those seeking to finish their academic work.

While I do find it annoying that Gal doesn’t come close to living up to its name, I find it more annoying that our access is limited to the use of computers. I, like many other students, tend to want to finish some assignments at school at times or work on a project, and it is a pain to find a computer to work on. If we can’t fix the quality of technology at our school, at least keep whatever we have as accessible to students as possible.

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