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OPINION: Technology can be overused, but proves helpful tool in the classroom at MHS

The use of smartphones has been making headlines lately.

Some articles cite studies linking internet usage to depression in teens. But while smartphones and other technologies can be associated with addictive and harmful effects on children and teens, the positive uses of technology are pervasive and indisputable in today's world and are only becoming more critical to success in school and future careers.

Currently at Mitchell High School, there are students enrolled in 216 dual credit courses, most of which are taken online. And for many, they're beneficial.

"The independence of online classes has helped me learn self-accountability," said Jamison Gross, a junior at Mitchell High School.

Some courses at MHS revolve solely around technology and learning the skills to use it, including many of Bruce Mastel's classes.

"Technology is infused in my class every day," said Mastel, who teaches computer applications and computer programming. "We build websites, create video projects, complete desktop publishing assignments, multimedia projects and so on."

Other teachers choose to use technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their class. Ryan Stahle has his band students record themselves playing music assignments and upload it to Google Classroom.

"One huge benefit for me using Google Classroom is not having to take class time to listen to assignments. Before this technology, I would have to block off huge chunks of classroom time to listen to students," Stahle said.

Another technological tool Stahle uses is the Remind app on smartphones, which allows for students to receive reminders about assignments and upcoming events directly to their phones through text. Many teachers have begun to use this app as an effective way to have students better prepared for class.

Though technology benefits the learning environment in many ways, this in no way means there aren't serious negative effects of technology. Cellphones are often a distraction to students and can take away from their learning.

In Mastel's case, the speed of the advancement in technology has proven a challenge.

"The only downside to technology I see is keeping pace as it grows and changes," he said. "The district often writes grants and funds new technology to keep pace; however, the world is evolving quickly."

For myself, I use technology every single day. I've taken various online classes, applied for college online and I often use the internet to find research for essays.

I can check my grades and track the progress in my classes at the click of a button. I use the same group chat to ask my friends what our plans are for Friday night as I do to ask a question about homework.

Technology is so prevalent in not only teenagers' lives but the world in general. This use of technology, while often overused, will not decrease as teenagers become adults. Technology has become almost a necessity in our world today, and that will only increase as technological advancements are made.

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