When you entered the doors of MHS (probably against your will) for the first time this year, you probably encountered a whirlwind of random lowercase letters and numbers. When we came back to school this year, we threw eChalk out the window, and said hello to Google Classroom.
The big debate between ditching eChalk and turning to Classroom has thickened in recent weeks. Some praise the website’s organization, others would rather put ancient pen to paper, while some just don’t see what Google Classroom brings to the table.
Google Classroom has brought me nothing but added stress, and based on feedback, I’ve realized that I’m not alone. While organization is a perk of the Classroom, teachers now have even more power over a student’s life then they did before. In the past, that power has remained within the tight parameters of the days Monday through Friday. But the deadly combination of wifi, iPads and the electronic hand in system of Google Classroom, students can now be expected to turn in assignments on Saturday and Sunday. With Google Classroom, our stress now spills over into our sacred weekends instead of being contained throughout the weekdays.
Every teacher has a different philosophy for handing in and grading papers. Many have switched to the screen and expect all assignments to be handed in via internet. Others remain fully immersed in hard copies and only use Google Classroom to post assignments and announcements. There are even a few who expect some assignments over Google Classroom and some hard copies. It can seem impossible to know how important assignments will get to our teachers, which is extremely frustrating and stressful for students. It becomes a balancing act when teachers post their assignments but don’t expect them to be turned in there. Even if you hand in a hard copy of the assignments, when you open your class stream every assignment has a panic-inducing “LATE!” sticker next to it! The stress makes one wonder if Google Classroom is really worth it after all.
In these early stages of school, it is essential that students remain calm and organized in order to get back into the swing of things. But this year, our beloved Notability application has gone missing, forcing us to mark up our notes in the newly discovered annotating feature on Google Classroom. This would be a great way to stay organized if the app didn’t force you to save your work each time you make a new change. Quitting out of the app wreaks all types of havoc, including erasing all of the latest notes and answers. Any writing is set in stone because there is no erasing feature. Google Classroom leaves you stressed and scrambling to rewrite everything, leaving you without the ability to erase your notes which might as well be etchings.
As mentioned, since Google Classroom’s launch at Mamaroneck High School, I have learned that many of my peers have similar feelings of dislike for it. Representatives from all across our school happily wave the eChalk flag. “Papers and homeworks are now having to be submitted all over the place, which was nothing we ever had to worry about before. It was simple and straightforward. All Google Classroom has done has made something that should be simple into a mess.” says a senior. Even though eChalk had many flaws, it was definitely a great system. The same senior mentioned the organized calendar system of eChalk that allows all work assigned on the same day to be viewed in the same small neat box. It also allowed students to travel “back in time” and view previous assignments. As the year goes on, finding past assignments on Google Classroom will be a scrolling marathon, due to its list format.
Google Classroom does have its perks, anyone will admit. Even with the scrolling issues, it organizes all assignments into a neat list with due dates for each. It allows all of your class assignments to be written in the same place (even if some won’t be handed in there) and teachers to get in touch with students even when the class doesn’t meet. Nonetheless, I feel that Google Classroom will almost definitely cause more issues as the school year progresses. I think that our best bet as a school is to work out our issues with eChalk and return to the old system.
For us students, it is important that we have a way to organize all of our assignments and lower our stress levels as much as possible to maximize our success at MHS. Assignment organization and simplicity are a big part of what helps us stay successful and the implementation of Google Classroom is only making things more complicated. While having the classroom always accessible to us can be a positive, carrying it around in our pockets is not the best method.
By Abigail Owen