Pike Liberal Arts School goes wireless

Published 11:00 pm Friday, July 26, 2013

Pike Liberal Arts School is going wireless for the 2013-2014 school year.

The PLAS faculty and administration are excited, the parents are excited and so are the students. However, the students’ excitement might be tempered just a bit because Facebook and other social medial will be blocked and cell phones still will not be allowed during school hours.

Jeremy Mathews, PLAS technology specialist, said that “going wireless” simply means that laptops, iPads, E-readers and such will have Internet capabilities without having to use wire for the transfer of data.

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“This first year, the students will bring their own devices and those devices can be laptops iPads, Kindles, whatever device they prefer,” Mathews said. “The school has a computer lab that will continue to be available to students, as well.”

Mathews said today’s students are hooked into technology and prefer these electronic devices to paper and pencil.

“This is the way they communicate,” he said, with a smile. “And, these devices can be great learning tools.”

Mathews said the students will be able to complete assignments on their devices and the teachers can immediately access the assignments, grade the assignments and make notes.

“Teachers can grade assignments in the same way they would grade with a red pen,” he said. “But, they will also be able to highlight areas and make notes. Rather than just circle incorrect punctuation, they can note the reason the punctuation was incorrect. It’s an outstanding grading option.”

Mathews said the wireless connection would also open a line of communication between the teacher and the students on assignments.

“We will be using a program called Turnitin,” Mathews said. “It’s an online plagiarism detection, grammar check and grading tool. Troy University uses it and it’s very effective as a plagiarism detector. If a student plagiarizes, this program will alert the teacher to the source and the author. It’s a useful and valuable program to have.”

Mathews said going wireless will make life easier for the students and teachers.

“The students will have information available at their fingertips,” he said. “They won’t have to go to the library to do research. They can do research right in the classroom.”

There is also a financial perk to going wireless.

The cost of textbooks will be much less, 50 to 60 percent, and that’s a big savings, Mathews said.

“There are many advantages to wireless technology,” but it can’t replace teacher instruction,” he said. “Even when the technology is being individually used in the classroom, teachers will be walking around, monitoring the activity.”

Mathew said, as beneficial as the wireless technology will be, he expects bumps along the way and a few hiccups. But those will be worked through and out.

“This is the direction education is heading,” he said. “Wireless technology will broaden the scope of education and we’re excited about the opportunities for Pike Liberal Arts now and in the future.”