Category Archives: Opinion

Moodle: Help or Hurt?

By Prisca To

moodleAs time goes on our technology gets more and more advanced. We have evolved from the iPhone to the iPhone 5c and Galaxy Note. As our technology evolves, our classrooms naturally evolve as well. At Legend High school we have advanced from textbooks to iPads and laptops. While some may see this as a positive, I see it more as a negative.

Moodle is the main resource used by students at Legend but the website has bugs or crashes more often than we would like. I have heard countless stories about how they couldn’t do their homework due to the fact that Moodle wasn’t working. There is an assumption that technology makes learning easier because teachers can post the work online. However, there was value in the traditional textbook. Athletes have games and practices that can go late, so when there is free time we had the opportunity to do a couple math problems during this time.

Legend is one of the few schools that actually use Moodle, and rightfully so. The maintenance of the website alone is very arduous. Teachers have the opportunity to utilize Moodle, but not all of them do. Technology can be beneficial to learning because we can bring in different sources. At the same time studies have shown that technology has decreased our attention span and our obsession with technology is almost unhealthy.

I think that like every idea, there are positives and negatives to the use of technology. With smart phones we are able to communicate in seconds. At the same time our dependence on technology can also be unhealthy. When Moodle crashes, textbooks seem ideal and reliable. It all depends on one’s perspective.

Pullout for Naviance: College help but class hurt

Quotes

By Liz Anthony

Legend high school has a program known has Naviance to help students find colleges they would most likely want to attend and also to help them construct a more structured future for themselves. The only problem that this program seems to hold is administrators pulling students out of class to have their session of Naviance. From the students I spoke with I found that many of them were being pulled out of core classes. It seems to me that Naviance has thus created more work for the students, like when they miss crucial classes, they miss lectures, quizzes and group work. Senior, Eric Smith, claims that “(He’s) missed explanation of a project so (he) had less time to work on the project, giving (him) a lot more homework.”

Junior Maille Pierce says, “I think Naviance is annoying because it doesn’t really do much for me since I already know where I want to go to college.”

A solution to Naviance may be to make it optional. Let students who want to use the program do so in their free time. That way, they are not missing crucial classes but, are able to use Naviance for help with college applications, etc. Another idea is once a month in every students English class (since all students have to take English all four years) have a Naviance session, that way administrators know students are doing the tasks and students and teachers can plan around prescheduled times.

The Road to Success?

Art by: Austin Battin
Art by: Austin Battin

Staff Editorial

Go back to your eighth grade year. You couldn’t even think about the transition to high school, much less visiting the college that just sent you their brochure.

Fast forward to sophomore year. You’re in another beginning-of-the-year assembly when the assistant principal starts talking about beginning your search for the perfect four-year university.

Fast forward once more. Now you’re sitting at your desk trying to meet a college application deadline. You’re a senior.

College is so close you can almost taste it, but did you really need to begin that road in eighth grade? The expectation that students should begin contacting and preparing for college begins earlier and earlier every year. Planning for your future is smart, but not when it chips away at the few years you have left to be a kid.

When a high school senior is searching the web for ways to prepare for college, the last thing they would expect to see is that their search should have started in sixth grade. Unfortunately, that is what many seniors are seeing, and there are many admissions officers that would agree, such as UC San Diego Director of Admissions, Mae Brown. Brown said to “start preparing for college at grade six [age 11],” when talking to Forbes writer Jason Ma in an article published on April 1, 2012.

We at The Forum disagree. As high school students, we know that preparation is key, but we also know how quickly the opportunity to be a kid disappears. No, we’re not professional admissions officers, and few of us are seniors who have been accepted to college; however, the outlook is brighter than we are often led to believe. College is competitive. With the right grades and determination anything can be achieved, and it doesn’t have to start before you hit puberty.

Of course you should think about college before you hit August of your senior year, but that doesn’t mean you should have to start thinking about it before you hit double digits. We think freshman year is a year to start exploring your options and finding information. Legend High School even helps begin that exploration in the freshman transition class. We fear that if we continue on this road the expectation will be for us to exit the womb with an extensive knowledge of calculus, physics, and literature, with a clear-cut, 20-year plan, before we can even support our own heads.

While it may not be everyone’s suggestion, take your time. Enjoy being 11, because before you know it you’ll be 18, sitting at your desk, trying to meet the application deadline.

Does Google make us dummer?

Phooto by Austin Battin
Photo by Austin Battin

By Prisca To

It’s Sunday night, and you haven’t done your history homework all weekend and now it’s crunch time. You don’t know who won the 1912 election, so you go to your trusty friend, Google. You type it in the search bar and you get an answer in about two seconds.

We can all relate to this situation, and we can all admit that we depend on Google for a fast answer. However, the use of Google might be giving us some negative long-term side effects.

According to research conducted by The Associated Press in April 2013, the average human attention span is eight seconds. Goldfish,which have an attention span of nine seconds, have a longer attention span than us, as found on statisticbrain.com. The average human attention span was 12 seconds in 2000. As technology becomes a bigger part of our lives, our attention span has gone down.

When we go on Moodle, and the website is down, we automatically give up, expecting Moodle to fix itself and we put off the work, saying we’ll do it later.

Google is the largest and most popular search engine in the world. On average, it takes less than a second to find several web pages regarding the topic you’re looking for.

Google plays a big part in why our attention span has gone down drastically. The fact that we have information given to us so fast and so easily, changes the amount of effort we put into the things we want. It seems that we have this perception that if we don’t receive results with minimal effort and quick response, then it’s not worth it.

“I don’t think Google makes us dumber,” Jordan Ivey, AP Psychology teacher, said. “But I do think the way we use it has changed our expectations of the world around us.”

It’s getting harder and harder to find people who are willing to put in the time and energy to get something when technology gives us the perception that everything can come quickly and easily.

I do the same thing myself. When I’m supposed to be doing homework, I work for two minutes and then I’m on my phone. I spend most of my time at school using my phone. I definitely use technology as a way to occupy myself. There’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine, and so many other social media outlets. No wonder we’re technology obsessed!

I see it at school everyday. When a class is difficult, we drop the class before we have the time to adjust or receive help. When we’re reading a book, we can only look at it for so long until we get distracted by something else.“My students can find information on Google faster than I can distill that information for them. That presents a problem for education because the information students are finding is not properly vetted, is not necessarily reliable, and, in some cases, is dead wrong,” English teacher Robert Przekwas said. Google and technology are omnipresent in all parts of our lives. It’s our responsibility to be cognizant of the invasion of technology and remind ourselves that there’s more to the world than the our iPhone screen.

Teachers too cool for the cell phone rule?

IMG_1489By Rachel Pearson

As soon as you feel the buzz in your pocket, what is your first reaction? Do you reach for the device in that pocket as soon as you think you have a break to take a look at it, or do you immediately claw at the fabric in some attempt to get your phone out in less than a second, no matter what situation you are in?

If you’re like the stereotypical teenager of today, then your reaction would be closer to the latter. It feels like teens and preteens have a hard time being able to put their phones down for more than five minutes, but this problem seems to have spread beyond this generation and to our teachers.

Everyone knows the school policy of no cell phone usage during class time, and almost no one follows the rule. It’s common for teachers seize possession of any cell phone that is in their line of sight, and the student is left without his tether to the Twitterverse. But as soon as that teacher begins to play Angry Birds on his phone during down time, the rules go out the window. It’s as if that rule doesn’t apply to the teacher.

All teachers have to follow nearly every other school policy, such as the dress code and having to have a sticker to park. So why does it seem like they’re allowed to break the cell phone rule?

Yes, students have a hard time staying off their phones in class, so they’re breaking the rules as well. But because some teachers are breaking the rule, it seems reasonable to us to break the rule as well, so it’s even more irritating when a teacher stops texting his buddy to take away our cell phones. Whatever happened to “teach by example”?

We recognize that “no cell phones in the classroom” is a rule, and most of us would be more than happy to follow that rule. However, we ask that teachers try to set an example for us. If you leave your phone alone, most of us will leave ours alone as well.

Relationships: To Do or Not To Do?

AubreeBy Aubree Clark

High school is full of new experiences, one of which is having a romantic relationship for the first time. Legend students offer some hints and tips about the do’s and don’ts in a relationship.

Do:

  • “Do have trust, have things in common, and buy gifts and flowers. Be with someone who makes you laugh,” said senior Peyton Cottingham.

  • “Be presentable, kind to parents, and surprise me with random things. Be fun, nice, funny, sweet, and talkative,” said sophomore Terry Trudgian.

  • “Always be there for each other. Don’t hide how you feel always support each other no matter what,” said sophomore Kaylee Clark.

  • Be truthful, trust each other, and do make memories together,” said sophomore Mac Madigan.

  • “Do have a good personality, be positive, and be open to new opportunities,” said freshman Elijah Derosa.

  • “Do be honest, trustworthy, have good communication, and be respectful to each other,” said sophomore Kellie Davis.

  • “Be open to each other, be understanding, and be sympathetic to one another,” said junior Lauren Rogers.

Don’t:

  • “Don’t be mean, don’t ignore eachother, don’t be late to anything we do together, and don’t hide things,” said senior Peyton Cottingham.

  • “Don’t be awkward, annoying, or weird. Please don’t expect perfection,” said sophomore Terry Trudgian.

  • “Don’t lie to each other, don’t rush into anything, and don’t cheat,” said sophomore Kaylee Clark.

  • “Don’t lie, always be honest. Don’t fight a lot, always try to work things out,” said sophomore Mac Madigan.

  • “Don’t be mean or rude, don’t lie, and don’t ditch each other,” said freshman Elijah Derosa.

  • “Don’t lie, don’t cheat, and don’t try and hide things from each other. Just be open and honest,” said sophomore Kellie Davis.

  • “Don’t cheat on each other, don’t sugar coat things, and just don’t lie,” said junior Lauren Rogers.

Pokemon X and Y Review

By Taylor Hourigan

With the release of Pokemon X and Y on October 12, Nintendo not only brought the franchise to 3D, but also breathed new life into one of its most popular series of games. As an avid Pokemon player since the age of 5, (my first title was Special Yellow Edition), I’ll admit to being less than thrilled with the series’ fifth generation titles, Black and White, and their sequels, Black and White 2. They just seemed lackluster. The new Pokemon designs were less than stellar, and the plot was predictable and worn out. While I’ve played all the other titles in the Pokemon Saga at least two to three times, I played my copy of White through once and never even finished my copy of Black 2. Pokemon was losing its appeal for me.

The release of X and Y was the only reason I bought a 3DS. And I’m happy I did. Pokemon X and Y features stellar graphics, awesome new features, and inventive Pokemon designs. My first favorite new feature is the character customization, a feature that is completely new to the franchise. At the beginning of the game, you are given three different versions of your respective character to choose from, with differing skin, hair and eye colors. As you get farther along in the game, you are able to change you hair cut and color, eye color, and even clothes. This customization personalizes your character’s icon in the PSS, or Player Search System, a program that allows you to battle and trade with other trainers around the world. A feature of the PSS, the Wonder Trade, allows you to offer one of your Pokemon up for trade. The PSS links you up with another trainer from anywhere around the world and trades your Pokemon for theirs. It’s pretty addicting, as you never know what Pokemon you’ll be getting in return for your little creature.

Another feature of this game is Pokemon Amie, a program that allows you to pet, feed, and play games with your Pokemon. Not only is this an extremely cute and fun way to bond with your little creatures; it has battle advantages. At full affection, Pokemon will land critical hits more often during battles, dodge moves and shrug off status effects. You can also pet your Pokemon mid-battle by swiping the stylus across the bottom screen.

 This game, unlike its predecessors, which were prone to releasing around 150 new creatures, only introduced 70 new Pokemon. The game has 454 available for capture, 384 of those from earlier generations. But the low count of new creatures is more of an asset than a loss. It accounts for more inventive designs and less throwaway designs made for quantity rather than quality. A personal favorite of mine is Sylveon, the fairy-type evolution of Eevee. The Fairy type was introduced in this generation, bringing the count of types of Pokemon up to 18. Fairy-type is weak to Steel and Poison, and Super Effective against Dragon, Dark and Fighting. The type advantage over Dragon targets a type that was previously only weak to two types: itself and Ice.

New to this generation are Mega Evolutions. Certain fully-evolved Pokemon can hold an item called a Mega Stone. After a point in the game, you can “Mega Evolve” these Pokemon once per battle. The Pokemon returns to its normal form after the battle, but while it is Mega Evolved, the Pokemon has higher stats and is all around more powerful.

The graphics are stunning, as to be expected from a game on the 3DS. Battle scenes now look like a movie, with multiple camera angles and effects. Pokemon move around in their spots and attack enemies in unique ways. Delphox, the final evolution of fire starter Fennekin, casts special-type attacks with a wand.

As for replay value, I have currently clocked up 150 (!) hours on my copy of Y. It’s that addicting. I beat the Elite Four and became the Champion weeks ago, but I’m still playing, because there are many things to do post game.  I’m unwilling to restart and lose all the progress I’ve made, so it seems I’ll have to buy X if I’d like to begin from the start again.

 Pokemon X and Y breathed life into a dying series and made way for the future of one of Nintendo’s most popular series. Its graphics, features, and plot make it one of the most addicting games I’ve ever played. I am eager to see where the franchise goes next with its games.

Annotation: Necessary Evil or just Plain Evil?

By Taylor Hourigan

This year, every Sophomore in English II Honors walked into their English class with a copy of The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, Huck Finn or Catcher in the Rye. The book was nice and new, all crisp white pages with bold black letters imprinting the story onto its pages. We all had the knowledge, though, that soon these clean pages would be marked with every different color of highlighter known to man, and filled with questions and summaries and sometimes even mindless doodles.

Every English class, no matter what grade, requires the same thing. For students to understand the book fully, our teachers say, we must highlight key phrases, write down question and summarize what has happened in each chapter. But let’s be honest, most of us do it because we have to, and end up not really putting any thought into what we write down.

“Did Daisy kill Myrtle? What does yellow symbolize? Does Nick really love Jordan?” Are some of the gems written down in my copy of The Great Gatsby. My routine was to read the chapter and highlight certain sentences that seemed important, and then go back and write questions that seemed pertinent to the passage I had just read. That’s been the same way I’ve done every book since I was assigned Catcher in the Rye and The House on Mango Street during the summer. I’ll put it out now, before people get mad at me. The Catcher in the Rye is probably my least favorite book I’ve ever read for any class, and I had to read a book called The Travels of a T-shirt in the World’s Economy for my Freshman Human Geography class. It could possibly be because I was mindlessly highlighting and writing down stupid questions while I sat on the beach and felt the allure of the sea foam green water in front of me.

Now, don’t get me wrong; English has always been my strongest subject; but does interacting really help us understand the book more? Did you know the color yellow symbolizes wealth in The Great Gatsby? Chances are, you didn’t, and if you did, it wasn’t because your annotating helped you understand that. It seems like busy work to me, something teachers made up to make it harder on us. In all actuality, annotation is like taking Cornell notes. It’s a strategy some educator came up with to help students understand what was being taught better. But does it really help us understand the literature when nobody takes it seriously?

It seems like our teachers are trying to make reading less enjoyable for us. Who can really just sit and enjoy the book and make observations by themselves when they’re being forced to think up mindless questions for a grade? I read almost everyday when I was in Elementary school. I read any book; I didn’t care what genre or author. Lately, my interest in reading has been petering off , and I can tell you that annotating my English books certainly hasn’t been helping rekindle my interest in reading.

The Harlem Shake

By Shantel Schwehr

Everything is cool and calm, until the music drops. From there, the previously tranquil crowd explodes into a frenzy of crazy dancing and abstract body movements. This energetic dance is known by millions as the “Harlem Shake”.

The Harlem Shake is stupid, but in a very positive way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a little goofy and wild around your friends and peers. If anything, it just makes for a good bonding experience and way to make new friends. Fun and “out there” trends can even makes students less judgmental of each other.

With such crazy dances and abstract styles going viral, there really isn’t much that seems out of the ordinary anymore. Being outgoing and unique is something that is becoming more and more acceptable thanks to the little things, like the Harlem Shake.