Student ambassadors push for technology access

Laine Cibulskis, News Editor

Students in all Plainfield District 202 schools will have the opportunity this year to rent laptops from their respective media centers.

Last year, each high school in District 202 had a student ambassador who offered ideas to district administrators. Alum Peyton Washington represented East last year.

“Those four students met very often with Dr. Wood, the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction,” Assistant Principal of Building and Operations Mike Romeli said.

“They had many, many ideas, but the one they went with was the laptop rental which gives students the opportunity to rent laptops through the media center to take home and to work on whatever they need to be able to do,” Romeli said.

“Students will be able to check out laptops for a period of three days from the media center, and, in order to do this, they will have to sign a waiver,” Media Specialist Lisa Marcum said.

If the laptop is damaged in any way, a fine of $100 will be issued to the student, Marcum said.

Additionally, if at the end of the three-day period, the student returns the laptop and it is not reserved for another to rent again, the student can borrow the laptop for another three days.

“If students don’t have the access at home that they desperately need to write papers or to research, I think [the laptop program is] going to help them tremendously,” Romeli said. “A lot of times our papers are typed on Word. Sometimes we just don’t have that access at home,” he said.

Social Studies teacher Kanwer Sarkaria, whose class utilizes in-class laptops, said, “Not everybody has access to technology, and creating that equity for all students is essential for them to achieve their highest potential.”

Helping students learn how to use technology can lead to future success.

“Creating that opportunity for students to utilize technology is essential because in college, what are they using? They’re using laptops. They need to know how to use the laptop to use Google drive, to use anything the Google platform has,” Sarkaria said.

The program may benefit teachers as well as students.

Marcum said, “Teachers are always looking for ways to support students and resources to provide them, and this just gives them another ‘hey, look at what’s available to you in the media center.’ It gives them a new avenue.”

“I definitely think teachers will benefit,” Romeli said.

As technology keeps getting more advanced, digital classrooms are a real possibility.

“I know that there’s a pretty big push from both the community, the district, and the students to want to embrace digital learning, and teachers are really on board with it. I think that here we do a really good job of utilizing the resources that we have to make sure that students are all able to get as much digital learning in the curriculum as possible, without completely taking away traditional learning,” Marcum said.

Marcum, Romeli, and Sarkaria expect the program to succeed.

“Overall, I think we need more resources in general. So, my hope is that new program will show that this is a need and that we will be able to fill it as a community in some way,” Marcum said.

Romeli said, “I hope that students utilize it, number one, and then, number two, are benefiting from the access that they will be able to gain.”

“We learn in such a diverse school, … and creating this equity between all of our students is only going to help each one of our students achieve at a higher level,” Sarkaria said.