CCHS Reflects on Reality of Digital Dreamers

Camille Crumbley, Staff writer

Although the deadline for Digital Dreamers completion has passed, some confusion over the orientation program posted to DeKalb’s online “Verge” platform lingers. The orientation was intended as an introduction to Chromebook usage for students that would teach safe and proper usage of the laptops and online applications.

“People are very concerned about what students are doing online and about online safety and whether people know how to carry themselves in an online world and I think that’s the concern,” said math teacher Andrew Milne.

However, there was a lack of communication between administration, teachers, and students about how and when the orientation was to be done, especially for dual enrollment students.

Initially, there were supposed to be three homerooms where students would be able to complete the orientation, although only two of the homerooms were completed.

When the Blue and Gold talked to students about the orientation, many students seemed confused and could not answer what the orientation was about and for.

“I’m dual enrollment, so I had no idea it was a thing until the people in my class were talking about it,” said junior Mia Gant. “I wasn’t here in the morning or in homeroom when they announced it. I have no idea what it’s for. Nobody could explain it to me.”

Students also seemed frustrated and annoyed that they were forced to complete the orientation.

“I feel that this whole computer thing is so ridiculous,” said junior Michaellie Mcpherson. “The orientation was a big, huge waste of time. It was very unnecessary. It really was a waste of time to take us out of class just to explain something to us that we already know how to do. All the stuff was common sense. It just wasn’t helpful.”

Junior Shrika Madivanan went so far as to characterize the orientation as “something made for first graders.”

Students are not alone in their frustration. Teachers were also irritated by the orientation.

“I’m not sure what went wrong in the communication, but somehow rather, it didn’t reach teachers,” said Milne. “What I think happened is that the administration thought that the central office sent out instructions and the central had thought that the administration had sent out instructions. So nobody seemed to have the instructions. So it was very close to the deadline and there was kind of a mad panic. Someone thought some else had done the job. We got last minute instructions and homerooms.”

Having so many last minute planned homerooms cut into class time.

“We were told four homerooms were going to be scheduled for this and I take my class time very seriously,” said science teacher Leila Warren. “I teach bell to bell and to have four days where my classes were going to be shorter really affects my class time. Makes me have to rush because I’m planned until the end of the semester. I feel like people think it’s no big deal but in your classroom, every minute is a big deal.”

Teachers have had trouble getting follow through on the orientation from students.

“I strongly suggested students do it,” said social studies teacher Carolyn Fraser. “I don’t see there’s been follow through to make sure that they have done it. I haven’t heard anything about how we’re supposed to follow up with them. We were supposed to do it through homerooms but they kind of went away, so I’m not sure how many of those students did it. And I don’t know how to verify that they have. The follow-through hasn’t been there, so I’m not sure the benefit.”

Regardless of the problems and frustrations the orientation presented, it had good intentions for students.

“I think the district felt like we’ve given you this ability to go online, so we have some responsibility to teach you how to do it right,” said Milne. “I think it’s all very well-intentioned but I don’t think it was very well done.”