An Interview with Wantagh’s Head of Technology

Ava Kornbluth, Features Editor

Over the Summer, Wantagh High school implemented new technology to ensure the best state of affairs for remote learning. Throughout the first couple of weeks, students have been transitioning from their traditional pen and paper style to the Chromebook. Some have adapted to it like it was nothing; others have faced difficulties. Whether it is a question about the new software or a slight computer malfunction, the Wantagh High School Technology Department is there when you need them. Mrs. Curry, the head of the department, led the team in the long and engaging process that was faced this past summer.


The Warrior: What was the preparation process like this past Summer?

Mrs. Curry: It was a very interesting process. We had to implement many new programs to ensure that computers in classrooms were working properly and all programs were up in time for conference day. In addition, part of it was finding technology that would help students and teachers with remote technology feel connected. This included the webcams that each teacher has in their classroom which live-stream the class for online students in the opposite cohort. 


The Warrior: What made Schoology the platform of choice?

Mrs. Curry: While investigating many different learning platforms, we realized Schoology had many features that Google Classroom was missing. Not only was it one uniform location that both students and their parents could access, but it also included the ability to sync grade books, communicate directly and easily with teachers, breakout rooms, and the fact it still worked hand in hand with Google resources. Overall, it had everything in one location. 


The Warrior: Will Wantagh continue using Schoology over Google Classroom in future years?

Mrs. Curry: Although the intentions are to continue using this platform, this year is a witness to the fact that no one knows what the future will hold.


The Warrior: How does implementing additional technology help enhance the skills of teachers?

Mrs. Curry: It absolutely enhances the skills of teachers. We have noticed the many different levels of comfort through the feedback we have received thus far. Many have suggested more training which is why Ms. Eizenpapf is currently working with some of them at the moment. A common theme is that they do like it; they just need additional time to adapt.


The Warrior: What outcomes for students are you working for with this new technology?

Mrs. Curry: Initial outcomes include the concept of unity in which each student discovers through the remote learning software. The long term aim is enhancing individual instruction.


The Warrior: Who do you believe benefits the most from the new technology?

Mrs. Curry: The students. The new communication technique is certainly a plus for everyone. 


The Warrior: Do you believe there will be an effect on students regarding the amount of screen time they will now acquire?

Mrs. Curry: It’s currently too early to say because we are unaware of the effects. However, hopefully, with more of a routine and schedule in place, a sense of balance will be created between the in-class and Chromebook time. 


The Warrior: Are there any concerns you have about the software?

Mrs. Curry: The only concern we have moving forward is utilizing the tools correctly and assisting in the instructional process.


The Warrior: Is there any advice you have for students struggling to adapt to remote learning?

Mrs. Curry: I currently have a fourteen-year-old. He questions the software that his school utilizes, yet commonly doesn’t ask any teachers to learn more. My piece of advice is to always ask! Ask teachers, have your parents email, ask us in the technology department, we are always here to help.