By Constantine Van Sickle, The Charter News – 11/22/2017 –
On October 9th 2017, Alliance Charter Academy (ACA) officially activated all student Google accounts. Along with that change, ACA has also re-introduced StudentVue, a software that allows students to check their grades. ACA’s push to “keep up with the times” is undoubtedly a controversial idea, already having parents opt-out of the Google accounts. Not only is ACA trying to increase student access to technology, they are also promoting the idea of having teachers electronically communicating with their students, The Admin is encouraging teachers to use Google Classroom. With ACA Parents feeling skittish towards the new “push” for technology, ACA announced that the Gmail accounts will be closed Gmail accounts. With all of this new technology, people might be wondering, what is a “closed” Gmail account?
ACA implemented an opt-in and opt-out for parents who wish for their students to not have access to technology, but Jill Mohr advised parents to not opt-out by saying “Opting-out will put their child at a severe disadvantage as they may not be able to participate with the rest of the class”. The Gmail accounts that ACA are giving out are “closed” Gmail accounts, meaning that students cannot send or receive Gmail correspondence to anyone that does not have a ACA Gmail account. Jill Mohr stated in an interview that the reason for this restriction, is due to a district decision.,
So what caused this wave of technology; why start this transition in the middle of the school year?
ACA’s transition to technology has actually been relatively slow compared to other schools in the district. Why hasn’t ACA transitioned sooner? When asked the same question in a interview, Jill Mohr stated that, until recently, the school was unsure of the laws surrounding technology. Instead of waiting until next school year they decided to start as soon as possible. With the complicated laws surrounding students and technology, Jill Mohr stated, “It is now required for ACA educators to communicate electronically with students through their ACA gmail accounts.” With this decision, the way classes are set up and run will definitely change. Is ACA ready for this change?