Homework through the ages

Camille Beaugeard

     Back in the days of chalk and blackboards, things were a little different. Teachers would assign the work and the students would go home to slave over text books, their pencils scribbling the answers ferociously. Presently, we use a mouse and quickly type all of the answers while we try to reach the online deadline.

     As the years go by, our technology advances quickly. The ability to do anything anywhere is a reality and anything from a congratulatory text to homework chat rooms becomes possible. Homework is a word that makes students cringe. Adding the ‘online’ in front of it just makes it worse. Online homework is often times more strict on due dates and needing exact answers for credit. As the years progress more and more teachers are following this trend and assigning online homework. However, just a few years ago, this concept was unheard of. Both students and teachers have different opinion on this seemingly new phenomenon.

     “I think it’s very handy,” Sarah Wartofsky, junior, said. “You get to know your grade right away, and you usually end up with more time for [homework] than you would have had otherwise. But it has its drawbacks, like when your computer isn’t working.”

     Developments in homework have taken many forms from online questions, web-based questions, posted assignments, submit folders and even collaborative tools like academic chatrooms and wikis.

     With online homework, due dates are enforced more than they could have been otherwise. No longer can students do homework the class before or on the bus to school. Most of the time, the deadline is the midnight before your class. With paper homework you can work on it between passing periods. With online homework you need to find a computer, turn it on, wait for it to load and then log in, if there is even enough time, making last-minute homework near impossible. Even those last few seconds can be precious. Not all the time limits are bad. For some the time limit pushes the students harder so that they can get their homework done. Others feel that because it is online, they don’t have to do it right away and leave it to the last second and then try to cram it all in.

       “I feel like the time limit is okay, because it makes you work faster to get it done on time,” Vishakh Shukla, junior, said.

     The times of lined three hold paper and pencils are slowly fading away. Most of the online homework is graded within seconds, leaving teachers free to tackle lesson plans instead of grading. For the student, writing down the problems, equations and vocabulary terms can be tedious. With society’s modern day pace, teaching and learning must become more efficient. And now, with the internet being built in to our phones and other portable devices, we can get to it anywhere.

     With mini netbooks starting around a couple hundred dollars, one wonders how long before they are standard issues in school and notetaking and homework are always within reach.