Many students this year were surprised when the school announced Athena would be dropped in favor of Haiku; now the advantages and disadvantages of Haiku are becoming commonplace in student’s lives.
The change to Haiku from Athena may have been a shock to some students, yet discussions to switch began in the summer of 2011. Discussions initially started due to problems with Athena, and an interest in a better system. “There were always issues with Athena; we’d tried to upgrade from Moodle [Athena] 1.9 to 2.0, and found they couldn’t back up our files,” High School Technology Coordinator Mariam Mathew said.
Students, faculty and the technology department collaborated on the decision to switch to Haiku. “Like most decisions, it’s a process, and we started sharing the idea with the administration. We started then sharing it with the faculty and carried out a pilot with several of the teachers mainly in the High School, but Middle School and Lower School too,” Mathew said.
The transition to Haiku now brings ASL in line with other independent schools based in the United States, said Mathew. “To be honest, in my experience from the schools I’ve seen, the European schools are still tied to Moodle [the system Athena is based on]; the American schools are starting to make the switch,” she said.
The switch was made primarily because of Athena’s issues, yet Haiku offers big advantages, such as integration with Google Docs, YouTube and other web services the school uses, as well as the calendar view for student’s homework.
Despite the advantages, some students remain skeptical. “I know they did it with a good intention, but it [the change] left me in a state of confusion,” Katja Kukielski (’15) said. “A lot of teachers do things differently from each other. There’s no consistency between classes.”