BSM increases technology with Google

Morgan Rogers

The production of the Knight Errant switched to a completely paper-free environment in terms of the writing and editing process two years ago, thanks to Google docs. This year, Benilde-St. Margaret’s has set up Google accounts for each student, further pushing them into the technological world. These collaborative accounts will allow students and teachers to interact and work together through different applications.

Besides just the ability to access Google docs, a program that allows you to share and edit papers through a Web browser, Google accounts offer a number of additional tools. “It is not just Google docs; with Google accounts, students will have access to e-mail, calenders, and other applications [similar to] Word, Excel and PowerPoint,” said Mr. Steve Pohlen, the Director of Technology and Learning. With these features, Google accounts will allow more group collaborations and class participation since now it is no longer necessary to meet with the person to do a project together.

Rachel Kaplan, the editor-in-chief of the Knight Errant, is an experienced Google account user due to the fact that she used it all last year for Journalism. Kaplan likes the idea that Google accounts can travel wherever you have a computer and can be shared with anyone else. “With Google Docs, you can’t lose anything. Now we have the capacity to have multiple people work on one document at the same time; sharing is definitely its best feature,” said Kaplan.

Ms. Jennifer Roushar, science teacher, thinks that these accounts will be useful for group projects. “Now, teachers will be able to see who authored which section, so they will know if one person did all the work,” said Ms. Roushar. This new system will help teachers grade more fairly and give the credit to the students in the group who actually deserve it.

Another feature that Google offers is the ability for each student to submit an answer that is shown on a document shared by the teacher. Since the teacher will then be able to see the number of responses and whether the response is correct or not, this will be a way of eliminating the only-one-kid-answers-every-question environment from the classroom. “You can have every student provide a response in this program; it will allow the teacher to see how solid the understanding really is,” said Mr. Pohlen.

Besides just being a more convenient and efficient way to communicate with others, there is also a green aspect to it. “If you think about it, you will not have to be taking [tri-fold] boards home and printing out extra copies of paper,” said Mr. Pohlen. Considering how much paper BSM uses in one school year, this fact is reassuring to many students and faculty.

Taylor Curtiss, a junior, said that having Google accounts is both good and bad. “So far I really like the idea of the Google accounts and one of my classes has already used it, but I feel that in a way it could take away face-to-face interaction,” said Curtiss. Additionally, Google accounts could lead to problems because students are relying completely on the Internet to work–if the Internet crashes you can no longer access any document.

Mr. Pohlen realizes this concern and knows that Google accounts, and technology in general, should be used only in certain situations like take-home group projects and class surveys. “Google accounts are a tool to use in appropriate situations, but we need to get out of that bubble and interact with people too,” said Mr. Pohlen.

Computers are used almost everywhere making all technological advances, and especially Google accounts, well worth each student’s time. “The whole world is run on computers,” said Mr. Pohlen. Undoubtedly, the technological information that the students are receiving will be helpful in the future, and although there are setbacks to Google accounts, the benefits should be well worth it.