The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

The Student News Site of Walnut Hills High School

The Chatterbox

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Tech tales

The+Chatterbox+uses+technology+every+day.+Whether+taking+pictures+with+a+camera%2C+writing+an+article+with+a+desktop+or+laptop+or+recording+for+broadcast.+
William Demeter
The Chatterbox uses technology every day. Whether taking pictures with a camera, writing an article with a desktop or laptop or recording for broadcast.

Today there are many different examples of technology being used in education. Whether you are using it to complete an assignment in class, at home or as much as people don’t want to admit it, cheating on a quiz, you are using technology. The way students have used technology in class has drastically changed over the last 10 years.

“We used to have these massive laptop carts. There were some in the library, actually, those gates that are upfront [of the library] that you heard go off, those were more about computers than books,” Librarian Margo Fisher-Bellman said.

Nine years ago, technology in school was very limited, as WHHS focused on offering a classical education. According to the mission statement, it is a classical, six-year college preparatory high school dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence in a culturally diverse community. Academic ability, respect for learning and a will to achieve are tools for the student body and faculty alike. There was a lot of hesitation for technology to be regularly used in classrooms. Previously, the only technology was projectors and computers in most of the classrooms. Even the library didn’t use very much technology. Now, it’s hard to imagine an English class without the use of Clever or vocab.com.

“[When computers were first introduced], I didn’t have a LanSchool type of program, and there was just no way to see what students were doing and if they were really paying attention,” Librarian Melody Riggs said.
“I found myself finding ways to get them back off computers.”

When COVID-19 first sent the world into lockdown, several students were sent home without laptops. Students may not have wifi at home, let alone computers. This was a big challenge for teachers and students, as some students couldn’t be reached, and teachers had to tally, similar to taking attendance, whether that student was contacted via PowerSchool. Many were never contacted according to Fisher-Bellman.

“Giving everyone a laptop just had to happen, because the students were all at home,” English teacher Brandon Keller said.

In the 2020-2021 school year, WHHS became a one-to-one school, which means every student receives a laptop to use at home and in school. Students were required to participate in Google Meet for every class, every day. All of the school and homework was online, which was now possible for students who couldn’t access the internet at home. In many cases, home internet was provided or assisted. Before, when students didn’t have access to the internet, they couldn’t access their school work.

“That was the beginning of my official transition from my own classroom to being all digital, so if you were to look back at my Schoology you would notice that it was more or less an early version of what I’m doing now, where it’s just organized all into Schoology and making it kind of a one-stop shop,” Keller said. “Hopefully it’s easy for the students to navigate and helps them keep track of everything.”

Later that school year, students started to come back to in-person learning. However, many still felt it was unsafe and elected to remain remote. This forced CPS to adapt and create an in-person experience and an online experience. CPS bought rotating cameras to follow the teacher around the classroom while they teach the in-person class.

“I wasn’t making as many copies because I could get students to access things right away,” Riggs said. “We used Schoology in my old district way before it was adopted here. I can say, ‘hey, just get on Schoology,’ and they could submit it that way which was kind of nice. So the convenience of it, I really liked, but the challenge I found was that there were just a million other distractions in front of students.”

Another form of adapting technology in teachers’ and students’ lives is AI. AI has changed a lot in the past few years. An older example of AI is Amazon’s Alexa. A new type of AI was introduced in November of 2022 with ChatGPT’s release.

Generative AI has proven to be useful in helping students with assignments, however, it can also be used to complete assignments that they should have completed themselves. This can hurt the student, as AI tends to make mistakes.

“I got the idea to work with students on an assignment using ChatGPT which was somewhere around the third quarter… we did an assignment with that, and then after that, I caught a student using AI when they weren’t supposed to,” Keller said.

A big caveat with AI assisting education comes in the form of AI hallucinations. Hallucinations happen when GPT doesn’t know an answer so it will make an answer up, or provide false information. ChatGPT is provided with information that spans up until September 2021. A famous example of a hallucination is when a lawyer used GPT to find research for a court case. GPT provided court cases that never existed, humiliating the lawyer and destroying their case.

“I can see students in the research process, and instead of having to dig through thousands of articles in a database, they can input a topic about what they’re looking for,” Riggs said.

ChatGPT can be used for research, outlines and so much more. Students really can use AI as a tool and not just as something to help them cheat on assignments. Students should always double-check the information GPT has provided with at least one other source. Often, if you ask GPT if this information is correct, whether it is or isn’t, GPT will double down that their information is correct.

“I tend to be someone who’s a little bit more tech-oriented, so I was interested in trying to make use of it as a tool right away,” Keller said.

Some teachers, like Keller, are eager to use AI as a tool for learning and use it for assignments, however, CPS is hesitant to set a policy about GPT. Many teachers do not want anything to do with AI.

“There are probably students at Walnut that are more fluid in AI than their teaching counterparts,” Fisher-Bellman said. “We need to pick up the pace a little bit and learn a little more about it. You probably have friends who are using it in ways that may or may not be ethical, but we definitely have to do something. It’s interesting now because the district has initially had a very conservative reaction to AI this school year.”

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About the Contributor
William Demeter, Opinions Writer
In his second year as a Chatterbox staff member, William Demeter is anxious to work as a Opinions Writer. William hopes to capture the opinion of students this year.  William Demeter also wrote for the Yearbook in 2021-2022 school year.  Demeter also plays the viola in Junior Orchestra and enjoys fishing and going in the woods.  Demeter hopes to enlist in the army and pursue mechanics. 
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