Though the new laptops for every student prompted the implementation of technology-based lessons during class, few courses have strayed away from traditional pen-and-paper assessments.
But, unlike other classes, IB English Literature SL 1 administered the first in-class essay on laptops. This is the first year students are typing literary analyses rather than writing them out.
“[Now] that we are one-to-one and every student has access to a laptop, we are experimenting and trying out typing for student in-class essays,” English teacher Heather Hilton said. “We want to see the success rate of students handwriting [papers] versus typing [them] to see if typing […] takes some of the stress of writing away.”
Hilton said there are benefits and drawbacks to typing the literary analyses instead of writing them, and students said they agreed.
“[Typing] will make essays a lot easier for people who don’t necessarily have good handwriting and people who can’t write really quickly,” junior Anthony Miroff said. “Typing can be a lot faster than writing, so it might help people get their points across in a shorter period of time.”
While juniors will type certain literary analyses using their school-issued laptops, they will handwrite some essays to prepare for the IB exam.
“I [do not] think typing essays [will] decrease the amount of practice people get for the IB exams because writing is still used for some assignments,” Miroff said.
Senior Haley Long said juniors should practice writing in class because she thinks laptops limit the quality and quantity of writing.
“For me, writing in-class essays is better because I can work better by hand,” senior Haley Long said. “It helps me understand and see my thoughts clearly plotted out.”
To combat the concerns over plagiarism, some teachers, including Hilton, reorganize the desks and chairs so the laptop screens faced them. They also required students to submit their final essays on Turnitin at the end of the period.
“We want to see [if plagiarism] becomes an issue or not and [if] that changes our approach of using the laptops for in-class essays,” Hilton said. “Hopefully, some of the preparation [before the essay], the time constraints and turnitin will also limit the ability to cheat.”
Hilton said student approval of typing in class essays depends on their preference and some students will always prefer the standard written in-class essays.