Sunday, May 2, 2010

Computer use in Syracuse City Schools

Computers are becoming an important part of most jobs and, therefore, using computers is becoming an important part of school.

"In order to, you know, survive and thrive in todays world they [kids] need those computer skills," Onondaga County Public Library's Jeanne Keller said.

This increased use of computers can be seen in Syracuse City Schools, except there is sometimes a problem - some students do not own computers at home.

"If our students aren't learning computer skills with us then they're not necessarily learning them in other places," District Library Coordinator Pat Vilello said. Vilello says it is important for kids to know how to use computers and that is why teachers sometimes assign homework that students need a computer to complete.

"They [the schools] definitely need to assume that some of their students won't have access to a computer," Joanne Trask from the White Branch Library said. Vilello says the teachers do assign work based on the assumption that at least one student in their class doesn't have one, but she does not know the number of students in the district who don't own a computer.

Allegra Smith, who recently graduated Henninger High School, said most of the computer work she had to do was typing papers, but she was glad she had a computer at home so she didn't have to spend a lot of time at school or in the library just to use a computer.

The schools are still doing all they can to make it easier for students that don't have access to a computer at home.

"Any assignment that has to be done for research they [teachers] accommodate the students by using the computer lab," Mary Beth Piazza, a teacher at Grant Middle School, said.

Vilello said that most of the time school computer labs are booked at all times of the day because teachers bring their classes there. She said it is very difficult for the teachers to assign work to be done on the computer without giving the students time to work on it during school hours in case some students don't have a computer at home to do the work.

Another option for students is to stay after school to get their work done. Vilello said the city schools have after school programs that last between an hour or an hour and a half after the school day ends and these programs sometimes include time in the library with computers.

Public libraries in the area are also accessible to students after school. A University of Washington study found that 16 percent of people used a library computer to do homework in the last 12 months. The study also says that a quarter of teenagers in the United States use a library once a week.

Dawn Marmor, the Children's Librarian at the Mundy Branch Library in Syracuse, said that a lot of kids who come to the library do not have a computer at home to use. She said the computers at the library are easily accessible to kids and they don't even need a library card to use them. The library also offers one-on-one instruction to kids if they need assistance.

Marmor said a lot of the time, though, kids aren't even doing school work on the computers.

"Since most of them don't access to a computer at home, they use our computers, most of them, for their entertainment purposes," Marmor said. Joanne Trask from the White Branch Library said she sees a lot of kids playing games on the computer there, as well.

Pat Vilello said the schools will continue to give work to be done on computers, especially since she says she believes the number of students without computers at home is decreasing each year.



No comments:

Post a Comment