Students should only be using school-issued Chromebooks


Photo by Jordan Pashkoff.

WCHS students work on their school-issued Chromebooks during class. Every student should have the same opportunities and technology equality at school.

By Jordan Pashkoff, Arts Editor

Think back to March 2020. Nobody brought personal computers to school. Students all used the Chromebooks that were provided in their classrooms without complaints. The virtual learning environment made students grow accustomed to working from any device they wanted to use from their own house (and classroom). However, now that we have returned to fully in-person instruction, students should return to school-provided Chromebooks. 

MCPS policy is that every student should be using the new Chromebook they were provided with at the beginning of the year. Students who received a Chromebook last year turned in their computers to receive a newer model Chromebook along with their other classmates. These newer computers have distinctively better features than the old Chromebooks, including a touch screen, a longer-lasting battery and a screen that can bend back to form a tablet. 

Chromebooks and personal computers have a plethora of differences, making personal devices more unfair to use. One of these differences is the number of distractions from school work. On a personal computer, students can check personal apps instead of focusing on their assigned schoolwork. For example, on a MacBook Air – a common computer used by WCHS students – the user can check text messages, watch TV, FaceTime and go on websites that are restricted on the school Chromebooks. Moreover, because the school-affiliated Chromebooks do not let the user log out of their account, non-school-related distractions are much more limited. Students are trying to get back into the groove of in-person learning and using personal computers can cause unnecessary distractions, making this transition even harder.

Having everyone use the same device emphasizes equality, equal resources, and overall equal rights no matter how much money a household makes. 

Not everyone can afford the latest MacBook Pro or the highest quality computer. Seeing their peers with these expensive, high-tech models can make students feel inferior. Having everyone use Chromebooks takes away the anxiety and competition students feel when their computer is not as advanced as the person sitting next to them. 

School should be a place where students can learn, not one where they are comparing themselves to other kids and their computers. School should be an environment of learning where students do not have unfair advantages due to the technology they can buy. 

Especially when taking assessments or doing in-class assignments, students using a personal computer are at an advantage because of the resources and extra help they can receive. For example, students can discreetly send a text message during an online quiz or use Grammarly to fix grammatical errors in an essay. 

In school, there are many ways a computer could get broken, from accidentally falling off a desk to getting tossed onto the ground in a backpack. If you break your computer or it starts to malfunction in any way, it is on you to fix it or get a new one; the school is not responsible for anything that happens to your personal devices. Whereas, the school is responsible for fixing your Chromebook if there is a malfunction, software issue or hardware failure for no fee. Teachers also have extra Chromebooks and chargers to provide students with as well as technological support. 

Some might say that higher-tech computers have better Wi-Fi and are slower than Chromebooks, but personal computers have to manually connect to the school internet while the school computers are already programmed to connect without a problem. Any Wi-Fi problems that a Chromebook has will also occur on the personal computer since it is the school Wi-Fi connection, not the ability of the Chromebooks to connect, causing the problem. Saying Chromebooks work less efficiently is a moot point because the same slowness occurs on any other device. 

Personal computers are perfectly fine to use when completing your homework outside of school, but they provide too many distractions, unfair advantages and extra resources that make an already difficult school day even more exhausting. Therefore, students should follow MCPS policy and use the provided Chromebooks.