Is Big Brother Really Watching You?

From+Left%3A+Godinez+Fundamental+High+School+seniors%2C+Rachel+Quezada+and+Nathan+Escobedo+are+annoyed+of+the+reoccurring+LAN+screen+that+appears+each+morning+when+they+open+their+Chromebooks+at+school.+Photo+taken+in+the+GFHS+Library+on+January+30%2C+2019.
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Is Big Brother Really Watching You?

From Left: Godinez Fundamental High School seniors, Rachel Quezada and Nathan Escobedo are annoyed of the reoccurring LAN screen that appears each morning when they open their Chromebooks at school. Photo taken in the GFHS Library on January 30, 2019.

From Left: Godinez Fundamental High School seniors, Rachel Quezada and Nathan Escobedo are annoyed of the reoccurring LAN screen that appears each morning when they open their Chromebooks at school. Photo taken in the GFHS Library on January 30, 2019.

Marycruz Rivera

From Left: Godinez Fundamental High School seniors, Rachel Quezada and Nathan Escobedo are annoyed of the reoccurring LAN screen that appears each morning when they open their Chromebooks at school. Photo taken in the GFHS Library on January 30, 2019.

Marycruz Rivera

Marycruz Rivera

From Left: Godinez Fundamental High School seniors, Rachel Quezada and Nathan Escobedo are annoyed of the reoccurring LAN screen that appears each morning when they open their Chromebooks at school. Photo taken in the GFHS Library on January 30, 2019.

By Johary Mayorga, Godinez Fundamental High School

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When Godinez Fundamental High School students open their Chromebook, a message appears. “It” wants you to share your screen with your teacher.

“It” is LanSchool Student which was recently introduced at GFHS. This new program leads to questions from many students.

LanSchool Student was proposed as a tool to handle the changes technology has brought in the classroom. AP U.S. History teacher, Adrian Montero, is one of the faculty members in favor of it.

According to Montero, it is a “collaboration tool and a monitoring tool.”

The program itself has a variety of features available. Apart from allowing teachers to see the screens of students, it also allows a student’s screen to be shared or projected for everyone to see.

“If a student is doing a presentation, it would be much easier to get their presentation projected up onto the board because I can do it from my computer,” said Montero. The tool is aimed to improve processes to make them quicker.

The screen can also be frozen if the teacher deems it necessary. It lets teachers control what websites the students have access to when they’re in class, and the browsing history and tabs are also displayed.

Johary Mayorga
This is the screen that greets GFHS students every morning when they open their Chromebooks.

“If students are taking a test, I can restrict them to just their online test,” said Montero. LanSchool Student gives teachers more power to handle the issues technology has introduced.

However, the program is limited in other ways.

Montero explained that it only works when “the computers are on the school network.” Students are not monitored while at home or on personal devices, making it applied to school-issued Chromebooks only. It is also only applied to individual classrooms. “I couldn’t, for example, access students in another class,” said Montero.

The program was approved by teachers at the school, being seen as something which could benefit the learning environment.

For teachers, it can be difficult to manage Chromebooks due to the set up of a classroom. “You don’t necessarily know what the students are looking at on their Chromebooks. This is a way for me to make sure that students are on task,” said Montero.

“It’s not a punishment. It’s just another way of using these modern tools to make a more collaborative environment and also make sure that students are learning,” said Montero.

Whether we like it or not, we live in an age of monitoring.”

— AP Psychology teacher Tessa Brown

AP Psychology and World History teacher, Tessa Brown, is another one who likes the new technology.

Brown believes that it could be extremely helpful for online assessments. The control that it gives teachers, such as letting them limit what the students have access to, plays a significant role. “I want to do digital grading,” Brown explained. Websites like Google Forms and Canvas are often used by teachers for tests and quizzes. “With this program, I can use Canvas for all of my digital assessments,” said Brown.

Brown thinks that LanSchool Student would make it easier for teachers to help students when technology is involved. “One of the strongest things we can do as teachers is provide you feedback,” said Brown. The program has features that allow for better communication and “guide instruction more,” according to Brown.

“Whether we like it or not, we live in an age of monitoring,” said Brown.

Some GFHS students are less than thrilled by the new program.

Senior Nathan Escobedo explained his disapproval of the program. “I find it very annoying to go through another loading screen,” said Escobedo. While he understands that program can bring benefits, Escobedo mentioned that the initial execution of it “is  annoying.”

Another student, senior Raquel Quezada, mentioned how the program could have been managed differently. “They didn’t let us know,” said Quezada.

There was no mention of Lan School being installed so the program surprised and confused many students who suddenly saw a message on their screen one day.

“Even at my house it pops up,” said Quezada.

Another teacher who approves is Nicholas Gentile, a World History and World Geography instructor.

Gentile said that LanSchool Student should fulfill the purpose of letting teachers engage more with students and help them be on task more. “It allows teachers to interact with students and help them understand material,” said Gentile.

On the topic of the greater access that teachers have, Gentile, stated that, “We’re in a public school setting, so there’s not necessarily a need for privacy when we’re solely involved in an academic atmosphere.”

The installation of this program might be surprising for many, but it is meant to fulfill a purpose improving the learning environment at Godinez. And for now, it is here to stay.

“They already watch what we do,” said Quezada, “I don’t think it’s necessary.”

This story was originally published on Grizzly Gazette on January 29, 2019.