Just this school year (2021-2022), the school has announced plans to provide Chromebooks for all of its students. This wasn’t quite surprising, as the school was already touting its reputation as a technical school, specializing in information technology as one of its CTE programs. With this over-a-million-dollar initiative, however, how do the students and teachers even feel about the school Chromebooks?
Prakaash Latchmarine, a student within the school’s cyber security program, believes that school Chromebooks haven’t helped him at all. He also doesn’t believe that the Chromebooks have helped the school either.
“Chromebooks are a major inconvenience, especially to IT students,” Prakaash states. “For example, when we’re trying to work with VMs, when we’re trying to work with actual cyber security work or networking work outside of school, we can’t really do any of that on Chromebooks because we can’t install anything, we can’t change any settings, we can’t edit VMs, we can’t install iso files. You can’t even install a Linux bash on it, without waiting another 4 hours”
Kalel Leslie, a cyber security student in the school, dislikes Chromebooks for a similar reason. He believes that the Chromebooks have bettered the school overall, but still doesn’t like them personally.
“They’re slow, they- I don’t know, they just suck,” Kalel says. “Compared to having your own personal device, it’s basically like using a bigger phone.”
Mr.Kalloo, a teacher within the IT department and the de-facto tech dude of the school, doesn’t follow this line of thought, however.
“We’re getting better at pushing apps out that they [the students] need.” Mr.Kalloo says. “I think they are able to start something here [in a classroom], finish it in another classroom, take it to lunch, take it home- all seamless without having to worry about having access [to a personal device]. I think it’s been working pretty fine”
A concern that parents may have, however, is that the Chromebooks could be a distraction from class. This may be a blessing in disguise though, as the students finally have the opportunity to learn something about themselves in terms of what would be expected of them in life.
“I think a lot of it [students using Chromebooks in class] has to do with self-discipline,” history teacher Mr.Heavey states. “Just like with your cell phone, there are some students that can use a cell phone for research purposes and be trusted with it; And there are other students that if you give them the opportunity and freedom, they’re not going to be as focused”
Mr.Heavey goes on to elaborate such that in a college setting, students are almost always going to have a laptop. Thereby, this “curse” can actually be seen as practice for a student in the real world, where there won’t be anyone looking over their shoulder.
Still, even the government is split on this topic. The funding for the school Chromebooks came from the government, after all. Yet, news from 2020 shows that New Mexico’s attorney general had recently (relatively speaking) sued Google for spying on school children using Google’s very own Chromebooks, causing a massive privacy concern.
Regardless, Mr.Kalloo is at least one teacher who doesn’t seem to care to dump this new initiative. He was one of the staff who had worked to bring this program into the school, and yet still has plans to continue it.
“We [the administration] plan to continue to phase them out as they reach their warranty coverage, so as a twelfth grader leaves, we should have a new set of models for the incoming freshman year.” Mr.Kalloo states. “We’re going to keep self-sustaining it [the chromebooks]. Right now, everything is covered under warranty, but as we get closer to that time, we’ll reevaluate and bring in a new set so we are always up to date.