How Technology has Changed Education

As technology has advanced, it has become much more prevalent in classrooms across the world. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, schools became increasingly reliant on technology. Students participated in classes fully online, causing a shift from assignments on paper to assignments on a laptop. Even now, school revolves around laptops and Smartboards. The question is, does technology affect education positively or negatively? To answer this, it is essential to first consider the evolution of technology over the years as well as the effects Covid has had on education. Before Covid, many schools gained technology intending to improve the education of students. At this time, most assignments were still on paper and laptops weren’t predominant in classrooms. After lockdown and as students began returning to class, many, if not all assignments rem online formats. This shows that as technology has become more important to school, education has certainly changed. Numerous studies have been done to decide if this change is good or bad.

Let’s begin with technology’s negative effects on education. Research shows that typing is a less effective way to take notes than writing can be looked at. A study was conducted that tested students who typed their notes and students who hand wrote their notes. Both groups were tested on information immediately after taking notes. The results clearly showed that students who handwrote their notes did better on the test. This allowed them to conclude that handwriting notes is more effective than typing because handwriting activates areas of the brain that are responsible for memory while typing doesn’t. Because of this, using technology to take notes is a less effective way of learning. This shows that using more technology in the classroom can be a less effective way of teaching. Another negative effect of technology is that students become very reliant on technology. Because assessments and assignments are often online, students are heavily relying on the answers being online as well. Because this information isn’t always correct, it can be misleading to students and give them wrong information. For younger students, good handwriting skills are going extinct. Technology also provides a distraction for students in class because it is so accessible. As shown, more technology in classrooms has certainly had negative effects.

On the other hand, it has also had positive effects. For example, education has become more accessible for students. If a student is sick, they can access their school work throughout the day instead of waiting to get paper copies when they return to school. Along with more accessibility, technology can also increase student collaboration. Group projects that would not be possible without technology can now happen. Technology also makes receiving feedback from other students much easier. It provides teachers with more tools to assign students hands-on learning experiences, allowing students to learn better. Students have the ability to use search engines to look up unanswered questions and additional information to complete assignments. This can make schoolwork more motivating to students, allowing them to complete their assignments and receive better grades. Technology also provides students with the tools they need to be successful in the classroom. For example, online planners and calendars allow students to keep track of their assignments.

Do the positive effects of technology outweigh the negative? Well, it does help students to be successful in the classroom when used in moderation, but it is not hard to become overly reliant on technology and allow it to become a disadvantage and a distraction. In conclusion, although there are positive effects of technology in the classroom, it has had an overall negative effect on students.

— Emma Javor

Read More

Kafka on the Shore

I walk

the sandstorm

follows

I walk onto the sidewalk

the sandstorm swirls sand as

it slides onto the sidewalk

I change direction

the sandstorm

does the same

All across my

walking route,

the sandstorm keeps dancing

like death’s daggers

I turn around

thesandstorm

isclose

wantingtohugme

I r u n

I c a n ’ t l e t

f a t e t u r n

o n t o m e

Yet, sand has

hit my eyes

and my body

I walk home.

Not who I was before.

Something has changed.

— Billy Wikol

Read More

Is Wearing a Mask to School Still Beneficial?

With masks becoming an option at school and around the country, is it better to wear a mask to school or not? Before answering this question, it is important to know why masks are becoming optional indoors across the United States. This is mainly due to a recent general decline in Covid-19 cases. The CDC has eased its guidelines on mask-wearing indoors, and masks have become optional in many places. Because case numbers have declined and more people have gotten vaccinated, more than 70% of the U.S. population is cleared to be indoors without a mask. However, continuing to wear a mask is a personal preference and can still protect you from the Covid-19 virus. With the eased guidelines, it is still recommended to get tested before being close to friends or extended family that have a higher risk for the virus in order to minimize the spread. This is because, as soon as cases shoot up again, masks will likely be required in more places again. All of this is key in deciding whether or not you should wear a mask.

Although masks are no longer required, they can still be beneficial. As we’ve seen, variants of the virus come and go. It is expected that new variants will emerge in the future. Continuing to wear a mask can still protect you and others around you from contracting the virus, which further prevents a new variant from spreading. We have also seen a wave of cases going through our community lately.  As of now, the CDC recommends wearing a mask in areas where many cases of Covid are reported or if you are sick or caring for someone who’s sick. People who are immunocompromised or have a family member who is immunocompromised should also still wear a mask due to having a higher risk of contracting or spreading the virus. Because the vaccine also helps to fight the spread, being up to date on the Covid-19 vaccinations is also helpful. It is still, however, possible to become sick even with the vaccine, so testing is also helpful to stop the spread of Covid. With this evidence, it can be seen that wearing a mask can still be beneficial for some, but is not necessary for all.

Although there are reasons to continue wearing masks, not all of these reasons apply to everyone. For example, if you are not immunocompromised or not seeing anyone who is immunocompromised, it may not be necessary to wear a mask. If you are vaccinated, you also may not need to wear a mask. With this information, it is important to know that just because schools are making masks optional does not guarantee you won’t get sick. If you are more comfortable wearing a mask, then it is fine to do so, but if you’d prefer not to wear a mask, it is also fine. In conclusion, it is your choice whether you wear a mask or not and your decision can be based on what you feel comfortable with.

— Emma Javor

Read More

Covid-19 Outbreak in North Korea

The Covid-19 virus has made it to North Korea and has spread like wildfire. Due to the isolation of the country, the pandemic has had no chance to truly cause any major issues prior to May 8th, but now that it is in North Korea, a major quarantine has been induced on an already locked down country. However, the highly transmissible nature of the Covid-19 virus has caused concerns for a humanitarian crisis. North Korea is particularly vulnerable due to the lack of healthcare and vaccinated people in North Korea. Between May 13th and 14th, 15 people have died and nearly 300,000 cases have been added to the total number of cases, which topped 2.4 million on May 21st. Both the death toll and the number of cases are expected to climb in the next several weeks. All of this occurred just after the discovery of the first case on May 12th. With how quickly this virus is spreading, there are serious concerns, both in and out of the country, regarding healthcare and the well-being of North Korea’s population and economy.

Although it is hard to believe that North Korea’s population of 25.5 million has remained untouched by Covid-19 for so long, the newly introduced pandemic is a struggle North Korea must fight. Because the virus has spread unprecedentedly fast, the country is not nearly as prepared as should have been in order to successfully mitigate the virus. For example, since the start of the pandemic, it is clear that places with strong healthcare systems, large amounts of medical supplies, and higher amounts of people vaccinated against Covid-19 are better protected from a large outbreak, like the one in North Korea. But because North Korea has limited medical resources and very little of the population is vaccinated against Covid-19, the start of the pandemic in North Korea could wreak more havoc than it already has. Some of these effects have already been proven with the number of cases and speed at which they are spreading in North Korea.

Beyond the effect of people dying as cases rise due to the fact no North Koreans have any immunity to the virus, other effects include Kim Jong Un, the dictator who rules North Korea, gaining more power. Because a lot of the country remains undeveloped, the Covid-19 outbreak will give Kim Jong Un an excuse to tighten the restrictions on the country. Before Kim Jong Un was put into power, the country faced a lethal famine in the 1990s. The dictator who ruled over North Korea at this time was able to use the crisis to strengthen the power of the government. This is why it is predictable that Kim will do the same this time around in an attempt to manage the situation. Another possible effect could be more or fewer weaponry tests. It is well-known that North Korea has missiles. These missiles are tested very often. With the outbreak, Kim could become distracted from the use and testing of weapons. It is also possible that the pandemic entering North Korea also could make Kim more hostile and cause him to test more weapons.

You may be wondering how much is actually known about the situation in North Korea if the government controls the news. Well, it is certainly a possibility that propaganda is being spread, but either way, it is interesting to note the amount of information that has been released by North Korea. This could be for numerous reasons, but as President Joe Biden meets with South Korea’s president Yoon Suk Yeol, North Korea may be announcing so much to let the world, specifically the United States, know that they are more important than South Korea. Overall, it is clear that the fact that Covid-19 has reached North Korea has and will have some dangerous effects.

— Emma Javor

Read More

Ukrainian Refugees

With the raging war in Ukraine, people are fleeing and becoming refugees in countries all around the world. Over 5 million refugees have left Ukraine and moved into bordering countries to escape the horrors of war. Because of the excessive amount of people and families escaping Ukraine, countries with high numbers of refugees, like Poland and Moldova, plead for international help. They fear more money is needed to allow refugees to stay. And even though so many people have been successful at escaping war-ridden Ukraine, many people still residing within the country have been also displaced due to Russian attacks. Because of the harsh conditions the refugees within Ukraine are in, the United Nations along with other organizations have provided Ukrainian refugees with money to buy food, a delivery service that sends necessities, beds for bomb shelters, and transit points for people to leave the country. Obviously, the large number of refugees both inside and outside the borders of Ukraine have had to go through so much, but some other major problems could be caused by the large number of refugees.

For example, as Ukrainians leave, there is a risk of human trafficking. Because of this, some countries that are collecting a lot of refugees have installed police at the borders to watch for criminal activities. Along with this, children have also been assaulted. Because the war is deadly and has killed so many, some children are left to escape the war themselves. This is why unaccompanied minors make up a significant part of the refugee population. Luckily, organizations like UNICEF have set up camps for orphaned children to protect them. Other major issues include the discrimination of non-European people. For example, Ukrainian-Indians and African Ukrainians have faced poor treatment at the borders. Another issue faced by Ukrainians is bringing their animals and pets out of Ukraine and into another country. Many EU countries have restrictions regarding the international travel of pets, which has made it hard for Ukrainians to get both themselves and their pets to safety. As all these issues are occurring, it is predicted that they will only get worse as more Ukrainians leave in hopes of finding safety. What can we do to help Ukrainians who are dealing with these problems?

All around the world, people and organizations are doing things to make the life of Ukrainian refugees a bit easier. For example, many organizations are offering volunteer opportunities and ways to donate money, food, and other supplies to this crisis. Some people have even taken Ukrainian refugees into their homes. Out of all these, it is most accessible to donate money to organizations like LIRS that will give your money directly to Ukrainian refugees to help them rebuild their lives. Overall, the Ukrainian refugee crisis shows the awful effects of war.

— Emma Javor

Read More

The Shanghai Lockdown

Since the initial lockdown in 2020, Shanghai, China, has gone into lockdown again. This happened because the city has been battling one of the worst covid waves since the pandemic started. Cases began to rise in February 2022 and the virus is believed to have stemmed from the highly contagious Omicron variant. In March of this year, a lockdown, along with mass testing, began. Although the orders to stay home and travel restrictions were only supposed to last a week or two, the lockdown continues today and has affected many people inside and out of the city.

Despite the weeks of lockdown, case numbers are still rising in Shanghai. Because of this, restrictions are getting tighter. China’s zero-covid policy, which is the government’s way of tracing, testing, and then locking down if a case has been detected, has also played a role in the start of this lockdown. Despite this intense policy, upheld tightly by the government, it can be argued that the government was underprepared for such an extensive lockdown. Citizens of Shanghai are struggling with the effects of the intense lockdown as well. For example, food is rotting, emergency rooms have an extended wait time for severe covid cases, and people are being forced out of their houses and moved into quarantine camps. Many elderly covid patients reside in these government quarantine camp facilities and are taken from their families to get to them. With the cases still rising and Shanghai citizens dealing with hunger and fear, residents of Shanghai have been left in disarray. Because of this, it is questionable whether this lockdown will be successful or not.

Outside of people living in Shanghai, the city as a whole is dealing with economic struggles. With Shanghai being the biggest city and financial capital in China, its closure has had numerous global effects on the economy. One example is the halt the multiple major companies in Shanghai had to come to as a result of this lockdown. For example, the Shanghai Tesla factory has had to stop operations, which has posed a threat to the global supply chain. Because no one can go in or out of Shanghai, any money from tourism is also being lost. This has caused the airlines in Shanghai to cancel flights, which has caused the price of flights to drastically increase. Because Shanghai is one of the most desirable places to start a business, China will likely lose money due to this no longer being able to happen for the duration of the lockdown. With the overwhelming economic effects and the struggle of Shanghai residents being forced into lockdown, anxiety invoking questions remain unanswered. The current conditions in Shanghai leave us wondering, are we next?

— Emma Javor

Read More

Demon Press Review: Atomic Habits

Here’s a little secret about me: I’m a huge self-improvement nerd. Some of my favorite pastimes are going onto YouTube and learning productivity techniques.

Over the past 5 years, I have seen it all: from Pomodoros to habits to time blocking. I’ve learned all of these from productivity YouTubers such as Thomas Frank and Matt D’Avella.

And these two had been saying a lot about a certain book. A book that has been praised as one of the best self-improvement books of all time. A book so good that many “BookTok” (the side of TikTok populated by book-related accounts and videos) users praised it.

The book is Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Since I was attempting to read a book a week, I thought I should give this a read because…

  1. Almost everyone gave it 5/5 stars.
  2. It will help me build a reading habit to help me reach my goal.

So I gave it a read.

The book covers many topics on habit formation (i.e. cue, routine, and reward) and gives simple tips on how to break or build habits in easy-to-read chapters. Each tip or concept is broken down in each chapter. This allows the reader to easily go back to a certain section and remember a concept or tip.

While learning concepts to improve one’s life is important, it isn’t as important as putting those concepts into action. Atomic Habits solves this problem by providing readers with a full guide on how to successfully build good habits and break bad habits.

After finishing the book, I felt a tiny bit disappointed. Sure, the concepts in it were great, but there wasn’t anything new that I could use in my own life.

At first, I gave it 4/5 stars, but I soon realized something that changed my opinion:

The book summed up 5 years of (my) research in 256 pages that someone could devour in 2-3 days. I changed my review to 5/5 stars as a result.

If you want to find the most helpful information and actionable steps on habits, this is your book.

— Billy Wikol

Read More

Every-Other-Weekly Good News: Mini-THON

No matter what anyone is going through, no matter the circumstances, we can see that there is some good news shining in the darkness. This week’s good news stems from an event that took place last week on February 25. Mini-THON is an event that raises awareness and fundraises money for childhood cancer. Right here at Kennett High School, we saw many different people come together to help those affected by the disease and their families. Students, clubs, teachers, and administration; all attended and donated to raise almost $50,000 towards the cause. The total amount for the event will continue to grow, as Mini-THON has two more large fundraisers in the spring. This combined effort would not be possible without what happened behind the scenes.

Club presidents Hayley Magana and Grace Pruitt ran this event along with the junior chairs, Clara Morrison and Sadie Maxwell. They gathered a committee of about 20 people to help, whom we all can thank personally for organizing and putting together this event. Without their help, this event would not have been possible. Additionally, we saw many related acts of kindness. Some of these included people outside of the club stepping in to help Mini-THON become a reality. So many people volunteered to help fundraise for childhood cancer. From decorating the library to hosting events, people helped out in all different ways. Recall how Dr. Hritz performed his original song and ran 42 miles for childhood cancer on the same day!

Everyone’s combined efforts for this event led to a successful, kindness-filled day. Without the initiative of Hayley Magana and Grace Pruitt and their rallying of the junior chairs and Humanitarian club, this wouldn’t have been possible. Due to all the volunteers, faculty, students, clubs, parents stepping up to the cause putting in all the hard work this was one of the greatest acts of kindness of this week and will support many children and their families. We thank them for their kindness and look forward to upcoming Mini-THONs.

— Chase Sangine

Read More

The ROC in the Olympics

With the Beijing Winter Olympics having taken place earlier this year, and Russia’s actions in Ukraine currently filling our news channels, it is interesting to revisit the controversy surrounding 15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva. 

To understand this, it is important to first understand the background of the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) and especially why Valieva was able to compete after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Right before the 2016 Rio Olympics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) raised concerns against Russia after accusations of the government allowing the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs were confirmed by a Russian track athlete who acted as a whistleblower. The IOC then decided that Russia would be allowed to compete in the Olympics under certain circumstances. The most important of these was that athletes must test negative for the use of performance-enhancing drugs and prove that they were not “doping.” Because of this, many Russian athletes did not compete in Rio. Later, in 2017, the IOC suspended Russia from the Olympics for four years, though this was later reduced to two years. Athletes from Russia were able to compete in the 2018 Olympics under specific circumstances and by being called neutral athletes, from the ROC rather than the Russian Federation. The 2022 Beijing Olympics will be the last Olympics in which Russian athletes will compete under the ROC name.

Because all Olympic athletes are required to take drug tests, it was no surprise that this ROC athlete, Kamila Valieva, got tested. After testing positive for three heart treatment medications, one of them banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the IOC was forced to decide if she would be able to compete. Along with the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Skating Union, the IOC filed a request against lifting the ban of Russia from the Olympics. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), formed to settle disagreements within sports, ruled that Valieva should be allowed to compete in the Olympics. CAS published a 41-page document describing the reasons it would be beneficial to allow Valieva to compete. These reasons include the mental harm that Valieva could suffer later in life and her young age. The World Anti-Doping Agency claimed that CAS ignored the World Anti-Doping Agency Code put into place in 2021 as a response to the claim made by CAS. Another group involved in Valieva’s case is an athlete-run organization called Global Athlete. Global Athlete referred to Valieva’s positive drug test as her coaches and other adults around her taking advantage of her being a minor, which is abuse that can cause mental and physical harm. Even with the Beijing Olympics coming to an end, Valieva’s case is still being investigated.

Valieva being allowed to compete also highlights inequality within sports and the Olympics. For example, recall Sha’Carri Richardson, an American sprinter who was set to compete in the Summer 2020 Olympics, but was eventually removed due to testing positive for marijuana use. Richardson said that the only difference between her and Valieva is that she [Richardson] is “A black young lady.” This shows inequality because race should not play into who can compete in the Olympics and who cannot not. Other athletes that competed against Valieva also felt that the competition was unfair because she had an advantage due to testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. This proves the reform needed in the Olympics to fix problems like inequality and to prevent a case like Valieva’s from happening again.

— Emma Javor

Read More

The Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine Explained

To understand the current conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, it is essential to first know the tension-filled history between the two nations. Ukraine, also known as the crossroads of Europe and Russia, has wanted to become more of an independent country, however, its close relations with Russia in the East competing with its ties to western Europe and the US make this difficult. After voting for independence from Russia after the Cold War in 1991, Ukraine joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s Partnership for Peace in 1994. Russia, however, disapproved of NATO’s Eastern expansion. In 1997, during a NATO Summit, the Ukrainian president exchanged documents with the NATO Secretary-General to deepen Ukraine’s relationship with the organization. Fast forward a few years later to 2004, during an election, the country is split between those who want closer ties to the European Union, NATO, and the West, and those who want to partner with Russia in the East. Russia felt threatened by the potential of Europe controlling Ukraine. Protests broke out after the Ukrainian president rejected a deal to become more integrated with the European Union economy. This led to Ukraine’s president fleeing the country and leaving Russia to govern. Russia first took control of the Crimean peninsula in southern Ukraine and wanted to make Crimea a part of Russia. In mid-2014, the conflicts strengthened when Russia brought its military into Ukraine, and violence increased after Ukraine resisted. Overall, Russia sees Ukraine making agreements with the EU as a threat. This conflict has become known as the Russo-Ukrainian War and has been years long.  Since mid-2014, many more conflicts have occurred. Recently, the violence has sharply escalated. Beginning in October 2021, Russian troops have been deployed to the Ukrainian border. The Ukrainians took this as a threat of invasion. With no direct explanation as to why this was happening, the Ukrainians feared further conflict. In December 2021, Russia demanded that Ukraine reduce the amount of NATO military equipment and withdraw all troops within the country. Russia also forced Ukraine to cut ties with NATO. 

Over the past couple of weeks, the conflict has once again worsened, after Russia invaded Ukraine. Key cities have been destroyed, including the capital, Kyiv. Tanks roam the streets and Russian missiles bomb the cities. Families have been broken apart because Ukrainian men of a certain age must stay back to fight. Although over a million people have been displaced, the attacks have continued. Along with the raging conflict, Russia has committed numerous war crimes throughout the invasion. Other countries in Europe and around the world are doing all they can to help Ukraine and weaken Russia. Many countries stand with Ukraine and have been giving defense weapons to the Ukrainian army to help them fight off the Russians. The reason these countries haven’t been actively involved in fighting the Russians out of Ukraine is largely fear of starting a third world war, which would negatively impact the entire world. Another example of how other countries have been helping Ukraine and weakening Russia is by placing economic sanctions on Russia. Along with this, many Russian banks have been removed from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, also known as SWIFT. The sanctions and the removal from SWIFT have caused the Russian currency to be worth less than a cent of the U.S. dollar.  This is a huge drop from what it was worth before the invasion.  

Although Russia has been slightly weakened, the threats of other countries have been ignored by Putin and Russia. The bombings, airstrikes, and war crimes have continued. As of Friday, March 4th, the Russian military has gained control of many towns close to the Russian-Ukraine border and has continued to advance further into Ukraine. The Russian military has still not gained control of the capital, Kyiv, but has seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power systems. This nuclear power facility is the largest in Europe and the attack by Russia caused a massive fire that has since been extinguished. Luckily, the radiation levels are normal, but it is under debate whether the destruction of this power plant is a war crime or not. Despite this, Russia continues to get closer to the second-largest Ukrainian nuclear power facility. This shows that Russia plans to continue using excessive military force to gain control of Ukrainian cities and towns. The plan of the Russian military is to attack smaller towns until they give in to Russian control. The Russians hope that this will demolish Ukrainian culture and hurt the hope Ukraine has for getting rid of Russia. This makes it clear that Russia is attacking to kill the population of Ukraine and gain as much control as they can.

The death rate nearing 10,000 people total. 43 million people remain in Ukraine, but over one million have evacuated and are seeking refuge in European countries bordering Ukraine. Because so many people still remain in Ukraine, countries like Poland and Belarus bordering Ukraine have concerns regarding taking in the large number of refugees that will likely come soon. To help with this, other countries, like Brazil, are willing to take in refugees, allowing them to work and live in Brazil.

Some possibilities for the future of the Russia-Ukraine conflict include a war between NATO and Russia. If NATO were to send in planes to shoot down Russian bombers as an attempt to stop the violence, a world war would break out quickly. The U.S. will also likely become involved if a world war were to break out. Another possible outcome is Russia winning the war and gaining Ukraine as Russian territory. Because the war has caused Russia’s political system to crumble, Putin could be taken out of office for initiating the war and displacing so many. After the conflict ends, Russia’s relationship with the rest of the world will likely be changed in a negative way. This conflict highlights the willingness of the rest of the world to prevent war and gain peace.

— Emma Javor

Read More