Next year, Warde will be piloting a new program where instead of physical classrooms for learning, all classes will be held via Google Classroom. This change was inspired by the success of the new Innovation Lab in upper Fitts, especially the video camera feature to help with group video chatting.
“It’s going to be a real change,” said Mrs. Werner, a science teacher who is looking forward to the shift. “I’m definitely concerned about the lack of in-person learning, but with the Chromebooks, many teachers have already started relying on the technology to do the instruction anyways.”
The main impetus for this change was in the NEASC evaluation where Warde is being compared against other schools that have far superior technology. In order to become the most technologically savvy, Warde wants to take the technology-only approach, therefore forgoing traditional physical classrooms for only online ones.
Students were asked to give input on this program as it is in development, and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“As a senior, I’m disappointed that this didn’t happen sooner,” said Zach Mudd. “I would have loved to be able to learn from home in my pajamas and not have to physically come to school every day.”
Some on the feedback committee raised concerns that this is basically homeschooling, but were quickly reassured that this is in fact just an update to be technologically up-to-date with modern education standards.
Highlights of this new program will also include budget cuts for not needing as many personnel, not having maintenance costs after the property is sold, and not needing pesky supplies like books, paper, and classroom materials. If this program succeeds, it will be able to effectively save enough money to provide every student with not only their own Chromebook and charger, but also AirPods and a webcam.
“I’m a bit concerned,” says music student Katie Harris. “It will become a bit difficult for music ensembles to practice, but I guess that’s the cost of being technologically up-to-date.”
Students are wondering what will happen for electives requiring special equipment, but it is rumored that Fairfield Ludlowe High School will become an electives space like a magnet school for students to attend for those classes, sports, and activities.
Harris raised another concern: that students will forget to connect with one another and communicate in person. However, she was met with the reassuring response from the school that students are already having difficulties with communication due to technology, so this is not a new problem. Furthermore, being the most technologically advanced school will require students to throw themselves entirely into technology, so it’s going to end up making the program more successful in the end.
“This is going to be a bit nerve-wracking,” said Mr. McGarry, “Since some of the teachers and students are not entirely proficient in Google Classroom. However, I’m optimistic that this will make Warde a better school. After all, if technology is going to enslave us eventually, we might as well immerse ourselves in it now.”