Bad Bugs: Tech issues threaten hybrid learning model
by Emma K.
Since returning to school in the fall, computers have been a very important part of learning. Students and teachers use Zoom, Schoology, Aspen, and other software on a daily basis for school—especially with online learning being a critical component of the new school year.
Over the summer, Duxbury High School anticipated the increase in usage of computers and the internet.
“Over the summer we actually increased our internet bandwidth as we knew we’d be doing a lot more remote learning,” according to Mr. Forrish, who works at the Tech help desk, “so we wanted to make sure there would be no slowdowns or issues with everyone on Zoom.”
Many teachers have adjusted their teaching to include online learning and in-person learning and they have become a bit more flexible. Mr. McWilliam, an English teacher at Duxbury High School, said, “it poses more of an issue if things go down but even if it does I think we can all shift gears.”
Now with online school, all students K-12 are using some sort of computer to learn. With this increase in numbers of computers and the increased time students and teachers are using them, the technology department is very busy.
“Due to the sheer number of devices we have, we have definitely seen an increase,” said Mr. Forrish. The Tech department has also been helping families at home who have been having issues.
While the Tech department has a lot to do and help people with, the teachers actually make up most of the support requests. Many teachers are figuring out how to work some of the technology and need help figuring out how to “best utilize the technology, versus specific computer problems.”
For teachers they face the challenge of having students both in-person and on Zoom so when there is internet and tech issues “they are probably more glaring now because if someone is remote you notice it more,” said Mr.McWilliam.
The most common problem the Tech department faces with students is Zoom. Students often have issues with their camera, microphone, or Zoom itself. Although they also see a lot of liquid spills or broken screens with the computers.
“I think it’s been fairly smooth, the tech department and other colleagues have been helping me out,” Mr. McWilliam said,” and students have taught me a lot in terms of troubleshooting.” He went on to say, “We are very lucky compared to a lot of other schools and communities that we have access to [computers and internet].”