During the recent Centennial Re-dedication of McClain High School I ordered and paid for a t-shirt being sold by a student organization. I’d forgotten and yesterday received a phone call notifying me the shirt was ready to be picked up.
So, early this afternoon I visited the school and to my pleasure was immediately and politely question by a teacher about my presence. When I said I was headed for the office the teacher helpfully asked if I knew where it was. After spending most of my life in that building I got a little smile out of that.
Anyway, I got to the office, retrieved my shirt, and proceeded to the exist at the far end of the first floor hallway. In passing several classrooms I was impressed by a couple of things. First was how intently involved the students were and second, almost everyone had a laptop computer on their desk.
I stopped by the classroom of a teacher I’d had when teaching history at McClain and asked about all the laptops. I wondered if every student was issued one. She told me that the language arts teachers had classroom sets of laptops and the classes were using something called Google Classroom.
Classroom is a free program offered by Google that allows teachers to post assignments online and students to complete and submit those assignments in a paperless manner. Not sure what else it permits but I’m sure it also gives them limited access to the Internet for source and research information.
Many of you know I’m a sort of geek when it comes to computers, the Internet and technology. Each time I visit my old alma mater I see things that either didn’t exist or were in their infancy during my tenure. Gone are chalk and black boards, overhead and slide projectors, filmstrips, mimeograph machines, pull down wall maps, globes, record and tape players, VCR machines, and so much more. I have a feeling that even some of the things I don’t recognize are now obsolete.
Back in my day I was one of the few teachers to have a computer in their room and that was because of my being in the computer business. When the school did purchase desktops there were only one or two per floor mounted up on portable carts. The electrical wiring was never designed for modern technology and in my room I could power two PCs. If I plugged in a third I could plan on a trip to the breaker box across the hallway.
All that changed in 2000 when a multi-million dollar renovation of MHS took place. When the doors reopened the entire Greenfield campus was brimming with state of the art technology. That was fifteen years ago and I can only guess how many times that cutting edge has dulled since.