A Reflection on Harvard-Westlake’s Technology Policy

Technology moves incredibly rapidly. So rapidly, in fact, that Innovare decided to take a look at just how much has changed in technology over the past 6 years and how well Harvard-Westlake has adapted to and embraced these changes. From my own perspective as an outgoing senior, I remember vividly how state-of-the-art Harvard-Westlake’s computer lab was back in 2012. However, a major change that was about to occur that would be different from years past was how prevalent laptops would become. Soon, computer labs would become obsolete as every student would have their own laptop.

Harvard-Westlake was very forward thinking, and truly embraced this change. They had the foresight to see this coming, and as such cancelled any plans to build new computer labs or update the old ones. In fact, they went a step further and removed the old middle school computer lab in the library to make it into a classroom. While more powerful desktops still exist on campus for video and photo editing classes which require better computing power than a laptop could provide, everything else has switched to portable computers and tablets. Going one step further, Harvard-Westlake decided to make laptops a requirement for school, and implemented laptop use in all classes to help experiment with new methods of learning that infuse the use of laptops and digital educational tools.

However, not everything Harvard-Westlake has done has happened without scrutiny. One of the most controversial changes, and something that has been covered in Innovare, was the cell phone change. Banning smartphones on the middle school campus was seen as an incredibly drastic and knee-jerk reaction to the prevalence of mobile devices. The school decided that cellular devices could only be used as a distraction, and rather than trying to find ways to incorporate this new technology into school life, they decided instead to restrict usage. This, by many, was viewed as a poor decision and one that will not age well, since the prevalence and use of mobile devices is already, and will continue to be, exponentially increasing.

However, Harvard-Westlake is an incredibly wise and knowledgeable institution, and hopefully, just as they once did with laptops, they will see the massive benefits that come with smartphones and mobile devices, and will instead decide to embrace the new technology.

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