Chromebook Comeback

Its time that we take advantage of the great resources the chromebooks have to offer in our classrooms, by taking them off the shelves, not leaving them to collect dust.

Photo by Ben Dross.

It’s time that we take advantage of the great resources the chromebooks have to offer in our classrooms, by taking them off the shelves, not leaving them to collect dust.

By Ben Dross, Sports Editor

They sit on the shelf, collecting dust. It’s been a whole month since they have been used. Montgomery County’s big investment to modernize learning, the chromebooks, have become obsolete in just three short years. Yet another waste of money for MCPS… or maybe not.

The Chromebook experiment hasn’t been successful so far. The Chromebooks do more harm than good, and instead of being brought into more classes, they are being phased out.

The chromebooks were supposed to be in more and more classes every year, eliminating paperless assignments in most of our classes. They started in English and moved to Social Studies classes but have since stalled. No science, math, language, or elective classes have their own chromebooks. The computer-based classes use desktops.

While the google classroom has been effectively weaved into classes, the hardware, the chromebooks themselves, sit on the sidelines. This can change, however. We need to give chromebooks another shot.

Right now, chromebook use is on the decline. Rumors pin it on low test scores and plenty of off task behavior online during class. I think if these problems are adjusted, however, we can make chromebooks class-friendly once again.

The fact is, most students did not use the chromebooks for just work. Many played games, neglected notes, and did their own thing. You can not put a toy like a computer in the lap of a student, especially a bored one, and expect them not to play with it.

I think this has to do with the fact that chromebooks are just used for notes. Notes could be done in a notebook. It’s slightly harder, but it is a tactic some classes have reverted back to in order to keep students on task.

However, if we utilized KaHoot and other internet programs for learning, the chromebooks would be even more productive, and less kids would go off-task. The county is already stepping in the right direction with this, with more and more classes using google classroom for homework assignments. If google classroom can leave this kind of impact during the day, it will be even better for students.   

Chromebooks also need to be more available to students. Right now, they are only available for daily use in classes such as English and Social Studies. If chromebooks could become a fixture in foreign language and science classes, they could further accelerate the rate of learning for students. With the internet at a student’s fingertips, the possibilities are endless.

However, the chromebooks also put a burden on teachers. We do not have enough chromebooks for every class, so if teachers need them, they have to file a request for them. These requests run the risk of getting double booked.

Also, chromebooks serve as an additional platform for germs. Some teachers feel the need to spend their breaks cleaning the chromebooks to prevent the spread of sickness. The chromebooks also are unreliable. Countless times they put a strain on the wi-fi network or crash mid-class preventing the continuation of a lesson.

These problems need to be fixed if chromebooks are going to become a mainstay in all classrooms. This can be done by providing classes with antibacterial wipes, payed for my the school, and not from the teacher’s own pocket.

A big advantage for chromebooks, however, is the ability for group work. Students can easily collaborate on papers and presentation by sharing documents. The new Google applications are easy to use and make for a great way to complete assignments. Every class can use the tools google offers in the classroom to make projects and labs more productive and entertaining.

In their current state, the upkeep of the chromebooks outweighs the reward. It’s a shame that despite the success of Google Classroom, the chromebooks themselves, the symbol of the  online movement in classrooms, have fallen behind. It does not have to be this way, however. If we make the necessary corrections, we can give the chromebook experiment new life.