CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Technology is taking over many aspects of our lives and could soon take over our classrooms as well.
Will it help students or hurt them?
To answer that question, we went to Chambersburg, where two schools in the same district have very different views on technology. The Chambersburg Area Senior High School is your typical high school, where no cell phones or electronics are allowed.
But the Career Magnet School is quite the opposite, with a one-to-one student-to-iPad ratio.
Katarina Fisher, a high school sophomore, says she prefers things old school.
“It’s easier for me at school to use pen and paper,” she said.
On the other side of town, Trevor Johnson is using a 3D printer at CMS.
“We’re making the Apple TV holder,” Johnson said. “All the rooms have Apple TV so we can airplay and see what our iPads are seeing.”
Catherine Dusman, the district’s assistant superintendent, lays out the obvious.
“We do have two different schools,” she said, “and they’re very different in the way the instruction is delivered.”
There’s a reason the high school doesn’t allow technology.
“I just feel like if they had a device in front of them like that all the time, it would be even more difficult to keep them from searching for things they shouldn’t be searching for,” biology teacher Jamie Weyant said.
Still, school leaders say they’ve learned a lot from the magnet school.
“We’re hearing a lot of things coming back to us through college advisers and employers, and it’s just amazing what we’re hearing. These kids are ready to do their job,” CMS principal Mark Long said.
For that reason, Dusman says it’s time to embrace technology more in Chambersburg.
So, we wanted to know why aren’t all Pennsylvania schools going digital?
“Schools can’t do all of the work alone,” said Matthew Stem at Pennsylvania’s Department of Education. “What we’re trying to do is create bridges and networks with business and industry who have many resources to bear.”
Stem says the department created a special advisory committee this November to encourage and incentivize schools to embrace technology.
“We project in 2018, 300,000 jobs in Pennsylvania will require science, technology, engineering, and mathematic skills,” Stem said.
But it’s up to local districts to commit.
“In many cases, the price of technology has come down to a price point where it is more cost effective to use technology in lieu of textbooks,” Stem said.
Long says that’s exactly true for CMS.
“We believe next year we’ll phase in even more technology and at some point, we would love to go one to one,” Dusman said.