By: Ethan Yu
Lab days were created a couple years ago to help d.tech students finish and better understand their work. While the concept is the same, lab days look much different from before.
d.tech’s lab day system has gone through many changes since its birth during our first year at the Rollins Road campus. From adding a plan to the back of the lab coat to having designated FIT areas, none have been as drastic as the most recent change.
Earlier this year, there were concerns made by both teachers and students over lab days not being as effective as they once were, and a couple of weeks ago, a significant change was made to our lab days. The previous FIT and office hour labs were replaced with three new options: collaborative, one-on-one, and quiet work spaces. In addition to these classroom changes, we also replaced the paper lab coats for a new and improved digital lab coat.
The previous lab day system, which was designed by the staff at the Rollins Road campus, was more algorithmic and would just try to match students based on referrals, space, and recommendations. Sophomore Sean Duarte thinks that the new system is “more based off of the advisor and the student making choices that are best for the student.”
Matthew Cooley, a math teacher at d.tech, is primarily responsible for the inception and implementation of the new lab day system. Cooley expressed that one of the main reasons for this change was that, “Teachers were tired of 30 students showing up with 30 different reasons, making that lab period very inefficient and ineffective for both the student and the teacher.” With this new change, teachers can more clearly communicate the types of experience students can expect during that period. For example, if a teacher has a quiet work period, students can sign up to work quietly and ask the teacher fewer questions.
The new lab days also give students an opportunity to run their own lab classes more efficiently. Student-run lab classes existed before the change, but they were not as easy to sign up for. A student’s @d.tech teacher would tell them about the available extension classes that day, but not all students would pay attention. Now, all available extension classes are there for students to see on the online lab coat. As junior Courtney Sullivan Wu states, “Student run lab days are quite fun to go to, and having them more accessible just makes it better for everyone.”
Another change that came with the new lab day system was the loss of the paper lab coat, in exchange for the Smartsheet digital lab coat. By using Smartsheets, teachers have an attendance roster and know which students are supposed to be in the class. Junior Spencer Wong thinks that these digital lab coats are for the better, saying that “It keeps track of where students should be because they can’t change their schedules mid-day and stray off.”
Even though teachers can now more easily check where students are supposed to be, it is still up to the student’s discretion to honor the system and choose the classes that work best for them. Cooley noted that, “Students aren’t following the protocol and just assume that they can just go wherever they want. However, this is a simple problem that can be fixed with more practice and better guidance from the teachers.” We’ve only had the new lab days for a couple of weeks, but it is a step in the right direction to perfecting this system that is so unique to d.tech.