Students resistant to new advisery technology restrictions

Administration aims to bring back original purpose of advisery

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With the newest restrictions on technology, students can no longer use advisery to finish up Spanish homework or last-minute cram for that first period math test, but are encouraged to shut off their phones and converse with their fellow advisees.
The first few weeks of limited technology use in advisery have seen a large number of unhappy students as technology becomes an increasingly present force throughout the school.

New Trier has promoted iPad use over the last seven years, with many classes making the transition from physical textbooks to more backpack-friendly eBooks, and more and more teachers opting to upload their grades and files to Canvas.
Although pen-and-paper homework still exists and is allowed during advisery, iPads are now a staple of student life and academic work, too.

The original goals of the adviser program are to bring students together, both Junior Girl’s Adviser Chair, Patricia Sheridan, as well as Assistant Principal Scott Williams emphasized that advisery was never intended to function as a 25 minute free period, but rather to foster a community that is able to have meaningful discussions.
Some advisers have a positive attitude about the modifications and have seen noticeable results.

“From a personal standpoint, I’ve seen guys with more spontaneous conversations that aren’t technology based, and I think that’s a really positive change,” said MCL teacher Gary Schubert, a senior boys’ adviser.

Senior girls adviser Jackie Gnant’s current advisery is her first of three in which she’s implemented a no technology rule, actually starting from sophomore year.
She observed that they’re the most social group she’s had. “Not having screens to isolate themselves has been a big part of that,” said Gnant.

However, students don’t always share the same opinion.

“Advisery is still supposed to be an okay time for us to do homework or study, but with no technology, how is that supposed to be possible when most things we do now at school are online?” said senior Rachel Hsu.

Sophomore Ben Levens agreed that although he acknowledges the purpose of the ban, the lack of technology in advisery can throw off his daily routine.

“On a general scale, advisery is really helpful for getting my head back into a school space when I’m able to catch up on some overarching projects or small scale homework assignments,” he said.

Other students, such as senior Asher Noel, are frustrated with some of the inconsistencies that the restrictions have created.

“The rule has escalated out of proportions, as my adviser now bans homework in advisery,” said Noel.

This new modification, whether good, bad, or a little bit of both, has students wondering about the motivations behind the limited technology use.

“Our advisers say that they want to decrease our stress, so wouldn’t allowing us to use technology to complete homework help take some of the stress out of our lives?” questioned junior Maia Law.

Even though a large part of the student body is disappointed by this recent change, there are also advisees who don’t feel as strongly about it.

“I don’t really care that much about not going on our phones during advisery because I don’t think it’s hurting us at all to just talk with our advisery if we have nothing else to do,” said senior Lexie Kaplan.

Schubert noted that the technology restrictions have been especially difficult for seniors to adjust to. But he also noted that his advisees are still able to do homework.

“If they need to a find a few other minutes during the day to do assignments involving technology, they can do that, and as advisers we can help them figure it out,” he said.
One of the administration’s goals with this ban was to promote a more collaborative advisery environment where students are interacting with one another as opposed to focusing on their studies or their screens. Sheridan highlighted that it’s not a technology “ban,” but is actually more about “reestablishing an acceptable use of technology in advisery.”

Sheridan elaborated on the purpose of the restrictions, stating that “This isn’t an attempt to demonize technology. I think it’s about balance. There’s a good part of your day where you’ll be on your device, so this is a small piece of the day where we’re trying to nurture that idea of being able to disconnect briefly.”

However, some students still attest to the idea that technology can actually have the power to connect advisees to one another as opposed to creating an unsociable and distant environment. Law pointed out that “Sharing pictures, videos and music can bring people together and can really only be accessed by technology.”

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