Students respond to San Diego Jewish Academy’s cyber revolution.

By Ariela Cohen (’21)

Can you imagine what life would be like without your computer? As you enter your class, you feel a wave of stress wash over you. You mentally prepare to rewrite your essay by hand around five times as you revise all of your mistakes. You know that you have to get to the library before it closes to gather up all your research, and you just hope that it has the books you need. This is what it must have felt like before we had access to the internet and word processing.

We have developed into a society that heavily depends on technology, sometimes more than we should. Technology is around us everywhere, and we can’t escape it now that we live technological lifestyles. Our generation has been born into a universe where technology is like an item of clothing – the less we have, the more naked we feel. Whether it be for work, communication, education, and occasionally just for entertainment, technology’s prominent role in our lives is undeniable. Fortunately, for the students of the San Diego Jewish Academy, computers are a class requirement. The question is whether their influence has been positive on our culture at SDJA.

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Nico Kohan (’21) and Alan Rostenberg (’21) collaborate on an assignment for English 9. Photo: Ariela Cohen (’21)

While some students take advantage of computers and work efficiently on them, others abuse the privileges of having them and misuse their time. Mackie Deverett (‘18) says, “Well, they have been a help to a lot of students in various classes. But, they have also provided a distraction that has made learning harder.” He later explained how he’ll see students doze off and go into pages that they aren’t supposed to go into instead of doing an in-class assignment that requires a computer or listening to a lecture that a teacher is giving. However, other students utilize their devices to the best of their to their abilities.

Since computers became more commonplace in our SDJA community, students have been enjoying the convenience of having their mistakes fixed for them. According to Jarett Grolman (’18), “With the guidance of my computer, I can learn from my mistakes. When typing essays on my laptop, I can see what I spelled wrong and won’t make the same error next time. Also, I can find verbs, adjectives, and nouns that are more powerful and will give the reader a stronger visual image.” Shanna Benmoshe (‘18) agrees with Grolman and adds, “Computers are helpful to students who use them for their purpose. Personally, my computer is really helpful to me because it allows me to stay organized by keeping everything in one place. My computer also lets me collaborate cyberly with others.” Both Shanna and Jarett can’t imagine what a day of learning would look like without their computers.

Dan Lilienthal (‘16), an SDJA alum described how he thinks computers have affected the environment of SDJA. According to him, the negative effects balance out the benefits they bring to school work. Liliental stated, “This rise in technology has affected the curriculum itself. Of course, the use of the internet made more students distracted and inattentive, but the internet allowed me to use several resources which facilitated my understanding of the material for many of my classes.” He described this shift as both malevolent and benevolent. He recalls, “In second grade the teacher didn’t even have a laptop and later as a senior, most of my classes depended on computers.” Furthermore, he made it clear that using computers was something that was easy for students to adapt to.

Teachers, surprisingly, tend to agree with students about the complex nature of computers in the classroom. According to Mrs. Webber, “In some ways, computers have introduced more distractibility into the classroom. But, in other ways, ease of finding information and allowing students to modify and personalize their education has been beneficial. As a teacher, it has been easier to give different types of assignments or to give choices of assignments to my students.” Another teacher, Mrs. F, thinks similarly about the modification in the SDJA system. Mrs. F stated, “Computers have enabled so much more research and a lot of information. When it [computer] has been used meaningfully and purposefully it has been a very good new thing. That said, there is always some downsides with all these new things.”



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