Seventh Graders Adjust to a Digital School

Azul Westpfahl, Interviewer

This is only the second year since Ramsey’s total digital transition, but many students have formed an opinion about it.
    Two students in particular, seventh graders Kayla Phengthavy and Cristen Bell, recently shared their opinions about whether they prefer laptops over paper and pencil.

    “I like everything on the laptop,” said Phengthavy.
    “I like the laptop,” said Bell.
    Neither student thought it was confusing to go digital, and they believe it was a good change for our school.
    “I think going digital has been a good thing,” said Phengthavy.

    “It’s better than paper and pencil,” said Bell.
   Students talked about how they feel about being the only Fort Smith secondary school that is digital.
    “I would die using a textbook [now],” said Bell.
    Last year, when Ramsey became digital, bags with shoulder straps were used to carry the laptops, and students complained about how heavy and uncomfortable they were. This year, Ramsey purchased backpacks for all students so it would be easier.

    “I like the backpacks. I think they are better,” said Phengthavy.
    “I hate shoulder strap bags,” said Bell.

    Before Phengthavy came to Ramsey, she knew about the laptops. Bell didn’t know about the laptops yet.

    “I didn’t know we were going digital,” Bell said.

    Some students think it’s easy to use Gmail, Moodle, Safari Montage, and other websites, while other students think they are hard to use.

    Phengthavy and Bell both think the websites are easy to use.

    Last year, the classroom management systems that teachers and students interacted with were Moodle and Google Classroom. This year, students and teachers are using Safari Montage, although many teachers are still using Google Classroom also.

     Both Phengthavy and Bell like Google Classroom best.

     “I like Google classroom. It’s easier to use,” said Bell.
    “I like Google Classroom because it is easier to see the assignment and suggestions, unlike Safari where you go to presentation view, and you just have to press on whatever the teacher wants you on, and then you are there. Most of my teachers don’t use Moodle, or Moodle2, so I can’t really say much about those two,” said Phengthavy.

    Now since we have laptops, students can communicate with teachers for help in and out of school. Phengthavy and Bell agree it’s easier to communicate with their teachers now.

    Phengthavy gets on her laptop by 7 a.m. doing homework, and Bell does his homework for an hour in the evenings. He also spends 3-6 hours on his laptop for personal use.  
    Many students would change some things about the laptops to make things better.
    “The backpacks are big and ugly,” said Phengthavy.

    “Make them smaller,” said Bell.
    Phengthavy used a laptop in elementary school, and Bell has used laptops since the fourth grade in school.  
    “I used a laptop at home and one in fourth grade at Fairview,” said Bell.

   Both of the seventh grade students like using laptops and think being a digital school is beneficial for their education.