Tech Today In The Teen World


Michelle Engler

In elementary school, I was fascinated by the enormous smart boards that were used in classrooms. Just to get a chance to go up to the board and write with the magic pen seemed so captivating for an 8-year-old. In middle school, the new technology started to lose shine and became something that was needed for boring research papers. We were able to sign out a laptop during class and frequently use the computer labs when we would like. Now as a high schooler, technology is something we can’t imagine going to school without. We carry our own laptops and devices everywhere we go. And because of COVID-19, almost all of our schoolwork is online, with a portion of Hunterdon Central students fully remote.

The use of technology in schools has grown dramatically over the past ten years, and now with a global pandemic on our hands, technology has advanced twice as fast in order to accommodate for our new learning environment. Growing up, technology was this fascinating aspect to explore, but now, it is the only thing we have to connect with people if we don’t want to contract and spread a deadly virus. Zoom and Google Meet are the language of students and workers nowadays. It is what we rely on the most to receive social interaction that was missing for so many months earlier this year. It is truly amazing how quickly we have adapted to this new way of life, but as with anything, dealing with technology doesn’t come without its issues. 

Specifically for students, it is exhausting having to stare at a screen all day long, as it can cause an array of symptoms such as eye fatigue, blurry vision, difficulty focusing, headaches, neck, back, and shoulder pains. From my point of view, I have experienced backaches, headaches, and just feeling more tired than usual after being on my computer all day for school. But what else can you do? This is the way we have to learn for the time being and there are strategies we can do to help ourselves. By getting up and walking around for a few minutes after each class, you can stay active, energetic, and more focused throughout the school day. 

Yes, yes there are definite negatives to virtual learning, among those being the health of the student body and not being able to interact in a true human way, but that doesn’t mean positives do not exist. We can now connect from almost anywhere and don’t have to meet in person in order to get work done. As students, we can literally take our classes from the comfort of our toasty bed. Also, there is a dramatic decrease of the use of paper, helping to save the environment one sheet at a time– potentially being a positive environmental outcome of COVID-19. 

As we continue to familiarize ourselves with the new hybrid model of learning, it is essential to find moments throughout the day to take breaks from the screen. Obviously, this can be very difficult to do with the block scheduling we are used to. However, by taking a break by eating a snack, getting some exercise, or even just taking a nap, we can find more ways to stay energized and on task throughout the day. Making the most of this new technological school year is an essential part of 2020, and it is important to remember that we are in this together.