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Reliance on one-to-one laptops stifles creativity

By Victor Song

The technological revolution has gone full steam ahead and its presence is felt by all facets of society— including the education system. 

Fort Wayne Community Schools high schools are scheduled to make the transition from pencil and paper to cursors and screens next year. 

But, as many studies, and personal experience, have shown, the current generation of students, and perhaps the future generations to come, will suffer from an unhealthy reliance on social media and an unwillingness to express their creativity. 

Mr. Joseph Wilhelm, teacher and technology coordinator, is supportive of the change. Wilhelm said that currently, Snider owns fifteen “laptop carts”, i.e. mobile pods that charge and store laptops. Due to a limited number of laptop carts, they must be rotated between classrooms. FWCS is now planning to change that. 

By next year, the school will order an additional 360 laptops, increasing the total number of devices from roughly 1300 to 1660. Each student will be granted a personal laptop, eliminating the need for laptop carts. 

In Wilhelm’s eyes this addition will prove to be handy for students, but is contingent on one condition: students must learn to not be completely dependent on technology. Only then will devices integrate with activities and become a part of life. 

Wilhelm said, “The exposure to laptops will prepare students outside of school when they begin to choose a career.” 

But of course, self-control is difficult. Our impulses drive us away from our proclivities to watch videos, update our posts and like funny pictures. In a society full of noise, schools should block it out in the classrooms. As students continually look at their screens, some problems can arise. 

According to American Optometric Association, ” Many individuals experience eye discomfort and vision problems when viewing digital screens for extended periods. The level of discomfort appears to increase with the amount of digital screen use.” 

Many other health issues are also linked to eye strain. It can lead to headaches, sleeping problems and neck-shoulder pain. Attention span is reduced and school performance is decreased. Sadly, students would be sacrificing their health to achieve academic success. They should not be forced to choose one or the other. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, an equilibrium should be reached. 

Perhaps the most detrimental effect technology could have on students is the destruction of imagination. Many of the greatest thinkers today solve problems by developing a mindset that can be continually trained and used to solve future, tougher problems. For students today, it is a matter of typing a question into Google. 

Sure, the solutions to the same problem may be the same. The student may even find the answer more quickly. However, when computers are overused in schools the process of expressing creativity is stymied and the valuable opportunity to develop an aptitude to solve problems is woefully missed. 

The combination of a person who has proved to be an advanced thinker and a device is ideal. Only then will technology find its intended use for education. But to provide technology with unlimited access to a high school student who is still maturing and finding their way to problem-solve is a mistake.

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