Internet at West High

Ryan Yorke

It is the inevitable truth that the technological age is upon us. Our generation is like no other; everywhere you look you see an iPhone or an electronic device of some sort. Well school is no exception.  Ten minutes spent in West High School and you will have counted dozens of phones. Now not only are there personal devices, but a large amount of school computers used for academic purposes that are powered with not only electricity but also internet.

The Anchorage School District has a large system of servers and business level internet to power the technological powerhouse they call school. Now with great power comes great responsibility. Business internet in Alaska has a ridiculous price tag on it just like everything else.

Now with 1,842 students, this raises the concern of data usage for our internet services. Beth Ann Brogan was in the position of education technology at West High School and helped monitor data usages at a school and district level. “There was large spikes that were alarming that were nearly double of ASD the normal usage around the time after lunch.”   She also mentioned that there is a guest option for anyone to log onto the connection at West and use the internet without having any information recorded practically making it so you can anonymously use West internet without any limits except a filter. This begs the fact of where lies the problem.

A quick look on the surface and everyone would like to point their fingers at the students, the ever so data-consuming students. Between Netflix and streaming music they could completely make ASD bankrupt, but even then, students are only at school for six and a half hours and are usually in class, which makes it quite hard to use data at an alarming rate like so.

The federal government requires there to be preventive measures like a web filter and firewalls to prevent the student body from using a massive amount of data that is out of control and doing inappropriate things on school computers. Grace Day, sophomore, said, “phones are everywhere at West High School we definitely need a good system to support all of them” after asking her about the phone policy at West and how often she sees phone.

Jacob Grisham, another sophomore at West High, who is quite a fan of technology and its role in the world, expressed his frustration by saying, “The Anchorage School District system is broken.  Just look at our schedules alone this year, we need a more balanced change.

Teachers and staff are another place to look, because everyone loves streaming music. From Spotify to Pandora who wouldn’t like listening to free music in the comfort of their classrooms while grading an assignment?  Streaming one hour of music is equal to about 1.5 gigabytes of data. Now with multiple teachers using this ever so sweet option it added up quickly. Internet radio was not the teacher and staff only addition to the data issue in the ASD. Quite a few teachers were using ITunes to download and update their entire music libraries at school, which took another chunk of massive data. Some, if not most of the downloads were for personal use and had zero academic purpose at all. A lot of our infrastructure is built on technology, we need to make sure the supports of our worlds are solid and can support not only the growing population but also growing educational technology advancements.