McKenna Fellows, Staff Writer
Relatively recently, Latin started using MaiaLearning as a tool to compile portfolios that supposedly reflect the many facets of a given student. The website’s goal is to collaborate with students, staff and their families to build an organized platform and help students reach their dream colleges and careers. And while the school has chosen this site with positive intentions, the Latin community seems to find it difficult to determine whether or not they consider MaiaLearning a valuable resource.
One defining aspect of the website is its variability on the basis of a student’s grade level. Though every student is required to have their own account, the amount of information stored in the account increases as a student gets older. Consequently, freshmen and sophomores are just beginning to build their profiles. “I understand the purpose of MaiaLearning,” freshman Alice Mihas shares, “but right now it feels a little more like a chore than something that my high school career will rely on in future years.” With the second semester in full swing, advisories have certainly picked up the pace regarding the enforcement of the platform during their allocated time. However, its usage remains inconsistent among the underclassmen, causing some to question the significance of dedicating effort to it at all. Sophomore Leo Hoplamazian notes, “We have been using MaiaLearning since freshman year, and I am still a bit murky on its aim. Because we don’t really know how we will be using it in the next few years, it can be difficult to feel motivated to create thoughtful responses to the prompts we are given.” This seems to be a trend among the freshmen and sophomore grades, and one that many have slowly begun to address with their advisors.
On the other end of the spectrum lie the upperclassmen. MaiaLearning has certainly had a greater influence on their high school paths thus far. “There’s no doubt that it has encouraged my organization over the years, and I am grateful for the structure that I have been provided as a result,” senior Keely Lovette said, “however I do wish that MaiaLearning better illuminated the aspects of me that go beyond just academics.” Granted, the site is career and ‘future’ driven, causing its foundation to be composed primarily of academic achievements. Nevertheless, most upperclassmen seem to think that were it to showcase more of their real, multidimensional selves, the platform would be significantly more successful. Junior Bella Campise concurs, adding, “I can definitely see why building a MaiaLearning profile is important, but functionality-wise it is not the best. I sometimes find that my work, which I often don’t see as worthwhile to begin with, is randomly deleted.” While the site is rather neat at a glance, there have been several recorded instances of students having their responses disappear upon submission. This, among other things, has caused frustration among juniors and seniors as they near the end of their portfolio compilation.
MaiaLearning, while undeniably beneficial in the college process, certainly comes with its own flaws. Between technical issues, vague goal-setting prompts and one-dimensionality, a question has been raised of whether Latin should continue utilizing its services. Ultimately, the school must decide whether its pros outweigh its cons, and this will surely be a debate that comes to light as more students begin using the website to create their college portfolios.