The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Tech takeover leads to Chromebook-only controversy

Photo by Rebecca Dean
WCHS junior Emilia Desiderioscioli uses her school provided chromebook to study. This year, WCHS students must only use school-provided chromebooks while at school, this has both positive and negative consequences.

Technology is undoubtedly an integral part of education at WCHS. From history to math, every single class requires technology, particularly computers. However, WCHS has recently changed the rules regarding what kind of computers students are able to use. This year, WCHS students are not allowed to use their personal computers at school.

During the pandemic, most students used their personal computers for online school. When WCHS transitioned back to in-person learning, students were allowed to use their personal computers in school to make this transition easier. Because many students became used to using their personal computers,this new rule has been a tough adjustment.

“Students became comfortable using their personal computers during online school during the pandemic, and transitioning back to in-person school and having to use computers that they’re less familiar with has created a multitude of issues,” WCHS junior Emilia Desiderioscioli said. “For example, students often forget to charge their chromebooks, update them, clean them and often aren’t gentle with them.”

As it has become clear that many students are struggling to adjust to using their school chromebooks, the fact that these chromebooks often are not as advanced as their personal computers has created additional problems. Chromebooks cannot often hold charge as well as personal computers and face unnecessary link restrictions. For example, school chromebooks often block the YouTube videos necessary for school assignments.

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However, for teachers, there are benefits to students only being able to use school-provided chromebooks.

“I think the biggest issue for me as a teacher with [personal computers] was the inability to monitor [their activity], and seeing students distracted by instant messaging platforms,” WCHS AP Language and Composition teacher Jennifer Miller said.

Because software like GoGuardian does not work with personal computers, teachers cannot monitor them as they can with the MCPS-issued chromebooks, which come automatically installed with the platform. Not only that, but the fact that there are no restricted links on personal computers also has its downsides. Although sometimes the school blocks unnecessary links, some of the links have been blocked for a reason: they can be a distraction. Also, depending on the personal computer, students can message their friends during class, thus damaging their opportunities for learning.

“I think that because teachers cannot monitor these chromebooks, it will be easier for students to cheat,” Desiderioscioli said. “When students’ personal computers break and they do not have their chromebooks, they cannot get tech assistance at school. Also, because these students feel they don’t need school chromebooks they can lose or damage them.”

Despite these issues with personal computers, many students continue to hope that the chromebook-only policy will be repealed. There are many benefits that come with personal computers, and to them, those outweigh the cons. Some students have come up with ideas that would help WCHS allow personal computers while diminishing their negative effects.

“I think that in order for students to more productively interact with technology, this rule should be repealed because students can work more productively on their personal computers,” Desiderioscioli said. “Although I understand that this creates issues for quizzes and tests, the school could instead provide chromebooks for certain times.”

Overall, there are advantages and disadvantages on both sides of the spectrum. While many hope that this policy will be repealed, others fully support it. As debates continue, only time will tell whether the policy will be repealed or stay.

“I feel mixed about the chromebook policy because on the one hand, I get just as frustrated with the WiFi here and it seems like the chromebooks have a hard time connecting when everyone is trying to use them,” Miller said. “But on the other hand, I agree with the intention of making sure that all students have access to the same kind of technology.”


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About the Contributor
Rebecca Dean, Assistant Arts Editor
Rebecca Dean is a junior and the Assistant Arts Editor of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism. She loves to read in her free time. This year, she is excited to further develop her writing skills and meet new people.

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