RM launches new accessible technology and hotspot program

February 26, 2020

Providing technology to students in today’s digital age is a major priority for RM’s media specialist, Dr. Michelle Alexander.  Dr. Alexander is advertising a nationwide program for RM that would allow students who do not have access to a reliable internet connection or computer at home to borrow a Chromebook and WiFi hotspot for academic purposes. “If the need is there, they get to keep it for all four years of high school,” Dr. Alexander said.

The initiative serves to give disadvantaged students access to the resources and materials that other students can easily get online.  “I think it is a phenomenal opportunity, and people should take advantage of it because it is something not many students have,” computer science teacher Dr. Heather Hennis said. “We try to do the most we can to facilitate the learning here at RM, ensuring an equal opportunity to learn and work.”

A University of Michigan study found that providing University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts students with free computers for home and school use improved learning in a number of subjects from science to English.  

Many students have a positive outlook on the role technology will continue to play in schools.  “It doesn’t waste paper and is a lot easier than writing stuff down. It’s also easier to do collaborative work,” freshman Shubhang Eruventi said.  

Some have also voiced the drawbacks of an overreliance on technology.  ”It’s definitely true that it can be distracting and lead to off task behavior,” senior Christine Zhou said.  “It’s an agreement between the teacher and the student to be on task while using electronics to do work.”

However, many students and teachers made it clear that it is not technology itself that leads to off-task behavior, but the students themselves.  “It’s a personal choice. You can be off-task in a variety of other ways too,” Eruventi said. 

Technology use throughout MCPS is on the rise.  According to the Bethesda Magazine, MCPS has organized a partnership with Verizon to provide free iPads to 3,000 middle school students across the county.  The partnership would also provide free internet access to students and technology training for teachers. TD Bank is also launching a program that would distribute Macbook Pros and Chromebooks to four D.C. area school districts including MCPS.  

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