Harrisites respond to WiFi access in school

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WiFi has taken over the century with networks found in just about every location imaginable. With immense advancements made in technology, the convenience of WiFi has made it popular and necessary, especially among today’s teenagers who depend on internet access for their laptops and smartphones. Yet in a school environment, where the internet access can be beneficial at times, it may also be be a burden and serve as a distraction for students.

In Townsend Harris, WiFi can be found in almost every corner of the building; whether it be under the school network, Hawknet24, or the Queens College Guest Network, QCLAN. It is available for teachers to use so they can present resources or photographs that can only be found on the internet. Each teacher has been provided with a laptop to project power points or lessons on the Smartboards, located in every classroom, in order to enrich the lessons and deviate from the traditional sense of a classroom environment.

Although the use of laptops may be essential, the use of WiFi is debatable. Spanish teacher, Ms. Beatriz Ezquerra, said that she uses it primarily for work-related tasks, as she sometimes teaches with the aid of online activities.

However, despite the fact that she uses the network, she refuses to rely on the Wifi and said, “I always have a Plan B” since its nots always reliable. She continued, “I come prepared with lessons that don’t need the internet.”

When asked about her thoughts on the school going entirely wireless, she revealed that she still has mixed feelings regarding the discussion.

Some students, however, have a positive attitude towards the WiFi issue in school and see the benefits it would bring. Senior Melissa Alvarado said, “I thinks that it’s very practical because nowadays almost everyone has a laptop or a tablet and we need the WiFi to get our work done.”

Being that the school has internet access other than WiFi, on the computers in the library and computer classrooms, it is debatable whether it is essential to students life, or if it would just give more room for distractions.

Melissa added that if the school went wireless, the internet access would not be limited to only a few students who use “the computers at the library [which] usually fill up really quickly.”

While students understand that WiFi could be abused by students and used to access websites not approved by the Department of Education, they still believe that it would benefit the students.

Although sophomore Mahirah Billah believes that at times WiFi in schools can be problematic if it is used inappropriately, she said, “We should go wireless so that we can access resources to aid us in the learning process.”

Many students that have been using Hawknet24 agree that very few websites are restricted, aside from scamming websites that require viewers to fill out surveys. This goes to show that students have almost complete freedom with what they do on the internet in school.

Freshman Sarah Ruth DeFilippo doesn’t consider the use of Wifi in schools to be necessary. She said, “Technology tends to distract students and WiFi just facilitates that.”

Junior Irene Joseph agreed that students should not have access to school Wifi due to the immense amount of distractions that come with free access to the internet. She said, “In order to keep Townsend Harris prestigious, we need to keep the distractions away from students.”

The rules that apply to using WiFi have never been cordially written down and reviewed in Townsend Harris, but students know that while they use the school’s network they should be working on only activities related to what is being taught, or done in class.

However, the school WiFi can be used for other activities such as social media or gaming. It is very easy for students to access these websites on computers in school but many students think that it is their responsibility to keep unrelated activities for outside the classroom.

Sophomore Faisal Hossain described his experiences with WiFi to be simply an easy tool to quickly research or look something up. He also admitted to going on Facebook, using the school WiFi, during his lunch band.

There are many pros and cons to having Wifi in the school environment which leads to a multitude of opinions about it. The pros of WiFi in school usually revolve around it’s accessibility, and helpful tools to help with researching and doing homework. The cons include the minimal website restrictions that allow students to visit any application or website that they please.

Recently, however, the school’s dependance on WiFi had been put to a test with the virus that had been found within the network. Many students that have used to using WiFi in school, have had a difficult time adjusting to class without it.

Sophomore Rhadika Patel, described class without WiFi to be frustrating because her all her teachers use it in class, with the exception of spanish and math.

Freshman Rebekah Jones has also stopped using WiFi in schools ever since the virus. She said that she never discovered the new password, and therefore stopped using it. Rebekah, who does not believe that Wifi is essential, concluded, “It’s a luxury that we deserve”.

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