Norristown Needs New Network

Duyen To

More stories from Duyen To

The majority of Norristown Area High School students are frustrated with the spotty internet connection in the school building.  There is often no service in many of the classrooms. One upperclassmen reports, “I’d usually get a bar… It’s okay I guess.” 

Still most of the school work involves connecting to the internet. Teachers are changing much of the assigned coursework to online work such as practice work, written assignments, or research for projects.  In addition, the entire grade book is online.  Students would prefer to use their mobile devices instead of the school laptops because of how “slow they are.”

Of course, when kids do not have any service in a classroom, they have to resort in using the Chromebooks. Consequently, this presents another problem: there aren’t enough Chromebooks to go around the school, resulting in students using their phones. 

Even more infuriating to students, is how the school allows students to use their devices during non-learning periods but are restricted to do so because of the inconsistent service in the lunchroom. Another student complains of poor service during non-class periods saying, “It’s horrible in the stairwells, in the new wing, and definitely bad in the cafeteria… I can’t text my friends or go on social media- oh and my music too.”

To complicate matters more, there are issues with access to school’s WiFi. Many students say they don’t use the WiFi. One ninth grader states, “Of course I don’t use the WiFi, I don’t want them knowing what I do online.” While an upperclassmen says, “I can’t access it- it’s hard trying to guess the password.”

There are many ways we can fix this problem and the students are full of ideas.  One eleventh grader offers, “each classroom could have their own WiFi, or better we could have access to the WiFi.”  Tiann Byrd, a budget-conscientious ninth grader states, “I use a lot of data- it’d be better to pay for WiFi, like ten dollars for WiFi; I’d pay money for that.” These changes would cost some district dollars, but could this change be better for the school and the students.