West Broward expansion driven by digital programs

by Alyssa Cagan and Dalia Kreynin

TYPING AWAY: Junior Gali Benjo accesses her various assignments and courses through Canvas. Canvas was also used last year to turn in assignments. Photo by Alyssa Cagan

 Students are constantly surrounded by technology in every aspect of their lives, including their education. Schools have integrated technology into the everyday learning environment and set a new standard for digitizing education. Cell phones and laptops are now a familiar feature in classrooms, where only 26 years ago the first touchscreen phone was released.   

West Broward High School has recently entered an increasingly technological period, with school officials rapidly seeking to make mainstays of new programs and internet services Naviance, an online resource where schools can provide forms and paperwork, is amongst many of the new online additions, specifically utilized for schedule changes and future college information. However, students, parents, and staff members have questioned whether this application will be beneficial or hindering. 

“Everything is going to be changing; everything is going to be computer driven,” said guidance counselor Joy-Brown Cooper. “I think that technology is a way for students to be more connected.”

The students and staff at West Broward have had to adjust to these new advancements.

Numerous online changes have occurred in a short time frame; these changes have affected the school environment and how classrooms will function from here on forward.

“We used Naviance because the district monitors our usage of it; it’s a process to get the kids used to the Naviance website,” guidance counselor Michelle Bellamy said.

Those in support of this online shift have expressed their favor in saving more paper and time. Utilizing technology has allowed for a more organized approach to completing back to school forms and necessities, such as schedule changes.

“I found out through my daughter on the first day of school when she brought home the instructions,” junior parent Cathrine Pacini said. “I was excited that it was online because writing out all of those endless papers was definitely a pain.” 

West Broward is changing with the times, while at the same time, expanding its usage of technology. As the new school year begins, changes are implemented to embellish the current systems in place. Technological features have allowed students and teachers to adapt to the digital world. 

“I think West Broward is really on the ball in terms of technology,” Cooper said. “We have a lot of access, and parents have a lot of access, too.”

Although this change is favored by some, others believe it is interrupting the familiar process. Those in opposition consider the fact that computers are not available in every student household, and many parents are not as technologically aware as today’s generation. Transitioning to an online platform has forced students, faculty, and staff to adjust to the beginning of a new time. 

Senior Michael Prieto has entered his fourth year at West Broward High School and has been amongst the many students who wanted a schedule change for the new school year. Naviance is the website used to submit a schedule change request. In the past, students were able to speak to their guidance counselors face-to-face; however, this online conversion has altered this normalcy. 

“Although going through the site was easy going, I never got to speak to guidance to make my change official,” Prieto said. “It felt as if I was waiting for an answer that wasn’t coming.”

Now, as West Broward looks towards the future, technology is driving the advances. Using Canvas, Khan Academy, and other online resources, West Broward will transition to a reliancy on the internet. Technology is constantly changing, and with it, schools will change, too. 

“In terms of technology, I would say that it is creating a lot of opportunities for students that they didn’t have before, such as advancement and preparation for their new digital future.” Cooper said.