By Noah Bergam (III)
When students returned to Pingry this fall, they saw significant changes in Pingry’s technology use. Although Pingry has been using technology to advance its educational environment for years, the one-to-one policy was introduced three years ago, requiring students to have a laptop for all classes. Since then, Evernote, Papercut, Moodle, Membean, and Google Drive, among other internet applications, have all been major, sometimes required, parts of class curriculum. There are also numerous other projects, like the Pingry Website Portal and the student-made Pingry Today App, that currently play a big part in the everyday lives of Pingry students.
The most notable technological change this year was the shift from Moodle to Schoology. In the past, teachers have mainly used Moodle to send students homework and course updates. This year, all teachers are using Schoology for these purposes.
When asked why the change was made, Mr. Brian Burkhart, head of the Technology Department, explained, “Moodle didn’t have the same level of collaboration.” By switching to Schoology, Mr. Burkhart added, “The biggest thing was improved communication, and having one place to go.”
Back when Moodle was the main class distribution tool, many teachers chose not to utilize it and instead used Google Classroom, or, in some cases, no online tool at all. Now that all classes are required to use Schoology, accessing materials is much easier for students. Pingry students can log into their Schoology accounts with their Pingry login information at pingry.schoology.org.
Schoology was not the only change made over the summer. ID Cards are finally more than mini-portraits; they now hold an additional functionality for building security. All students are now able to access the building’s Dining Hall Entrance and Main Entrance by swiping their ID from 7 AM to 7 PM, a privilege only faculty had last year. Seniors are also able to access the Athletics Entrance within the same hours.
In addition, ID Cards are now the keys for students to use printers. Students can link their Pingry accounts by scanning their cards to any of the school printers and logging in. Next, students can email an attached project to email@example.com, scan their card, select on the printer, and print. The reasoning behind these changes was, according to Mr. Burkhart, “a strong desire to get rid of PaperCut,” the more outdated software previously used for school printing.
There were also a host of changes made behind the scenes that most students may not even know about. There is a whole new student information system, Veracross, used to take attendance and record grades. According to Mr. Burkhart, “If you’ve ever been associated with the Pingry School, you’re in this system.”