Check Your Privilege at the Classroom Door

Sara Schleede, Junior Managing Editor

With the new school-wide integration of Canvas into classroom learning, students are expected to use the computer a lot when completing school work. Textbooks are traded in for PDFs and lectures in class for flipped video notes. All of this is fine, assuming that a student has Internet access at home. While having one or several computers (not to mention smart phones) at home may seem like the norm, the entire idea of online, at-home learning is based on an assumption of privilege.

An average night of homework goes like this: turning on the computer, filing through the “modules” tab of Canvas for my various classes and working my way through the different assignments until I’m finished or too exhausted to continue. It’s a lot of time spent staring at a computer screen, and I’m at the mercy of Internet mood swings. If an assignment doesn’t load, I have to head to the library the next day or explain to my teacher why my homework isn’t completed.

Canvas adds complications to those who have easy computer access, and the process is even trickier for those without it. School is exhausting, and one small freedom is being able to work in your own room and take breaks when you want. But a student without Internet is confined to the library to complete their assignments, forcing them into wizardry or soul-selling to be able to manage finishing during the hours of work teachers give before the library closes. That’s assuming that they can even print out all of the necessary papers, since the library has a printing limit.

If a student isn’t inhabiting the library every day to complete homework, then they have to wrestle for accommodations from their teacher. You would think a school would have plenty of textbooks, but now with Canvas they’re hard to access from teachers for those who need them. Even students with Internet who have a busy work life are at a disadvantage. If they don’t have any available Wifi, they can’t do school works during breaks and must fit time at home to do homework into their busy schedules. Any which way, surviving as a student without Internet is a disastrous and inconvenient process. Computers and Internet are great tools, but it’s dangerous to assume that everyone has access to such luxuries. It’s too soon for Allen High School to become dependent on a tool that isn’t even attainable to their whole population.