New technology lines up

New technology lines up

The amount of computers currently outnumbers the student population of 1,705 at KHS.

With around 2,000 laptops, PC’s and desktops, the halls are alive with the hum of technology as students and teachers implement new programs and welcome modern machines.

“We want to prepare our students for the technological world they are heading into, not just the world we’re in today,” Mike Gavin, junior class principal, said. “We need to prepare them to interact in a world we don’t quite know yet.”

Technology flooded KHS after the Kirkwood community passed Proposition I in 2005, which allowed KSD to designate a stream of money for the funding of technological expansion.

According to Gavin, the amount of money set aside each year typically amounts to $4-5 million.

To sharpen the operational skills required in a technology-dominated world, teachers are embracing a variety of new programs, including KDocs. Created by the Kirkwood School District, KDocs is a group within Google Docs exclusively for Kirkwood students and staff.

“Because students often have e-mail addresses that aren’t their real names, it’s confusing for teachers to know who they’re talking to, but with KDocs teachers always know who is who,” Gavin said. “By bringing KDocs under our umbrella, teachers can help kids with password and harassment problems, too.”

As the technology and programs available to students continue to evolve, the technology in the Donald Duchek Library is advancing as well.

“This year, we have 20 brand new laptops,” Laurie Seibel, librarian, said. “In the past, we would get every other department’s hand-me-downs, so we wouldn’t have certain programs, and students would complain. Now, we don’t have any problems with the new ones. They’re wonderful.”

Along with the arsenal of new laptops available for check-out, the library has an entire shelf of audio-books. These small square tapes are priced at around $130 each and are carried on lanyards. Students listen by plugging in their headphones. Online, the library also has 60 E-books students can download and read on their computers and iPads.

“We’re lucky the administration recognizes the value of a top-notch library,” Kim Heyl, librarian, said. “Technology makes books come to life because students can see, feel and hear everything.”

Although teachers and administrators are working to ensure students are comfortable with technology, Katherine Pope, junior, believes KHS should accept it even more.

“If each student had their own laptop, we would be more organized,” Pope said. “Teachers also don’t like when we bring our iPhones and iPads to school, but they need to open their eyes because technology is taking over the world. People need to embrace it rather than reject it.”

While many teachers and students agree technology is an increasingly significant aspect of life, Heyl believes the quality of any machine is irrelevant if there is not a quality person operating it.

“I don’t know if technology makes for better learning, but it’s how teachers implement it that makes for better teaching,” Heyl said. “It’s what we do with technology that makes all the difference.”