Board of Education should not purchase Chromebooks for next school year


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One replacement option for the Surface 3s is a Chromebook. However, Chromebooks would not be a good fit for students and teachers.

Next school year, Hays High will be getting new devices to replace the Surface 3s. One replacement option is a Chromebook.

However, if the Board of Education were to choose Chromebooks, it would be a mistake.

First of all, Chromebooks run on their own operating system. They do not support any Windows or Mac programs.

Students have been using Windows operating systems since first grade. They are very familiar with the way Windows works. While students and teachers could learn a new operating system, it makes more sense to stick with what everyone knows and is comfortable with.

In addition, using a Windows operating system would better prepare students for the real world than switching to Chromebooks. Most offices run on either Windows or Mac operating systems. Using Chrome OS would not give students a leg-up in the job search.

Adopting Chromebooks would also mean students wouldn’t be able to use Word, PowerPoint or Excel. Those programs are currently used by students daily.

Students instead would have access to the Google version of those programs, such as Google Docs (Google’s Word).

Not being able to use those programs would cause complications for teachers as well. For example, instructor Matthew Whitney has a new PowerPoint every period in his Spanish I classes. Switching to Chromebooks would mean that teachers like Whitney would have to convert all their PowerPoints into Google Slides.

Not only are the Google programs sub-par, but they also require an internet connection.

Students would no longer be able to work on documents or reference PowerPoints while traveling. Athletes wouldn’t be able to work on as much of their homework on the bus. They would be forced to wait until they got home to finish their homework.

Chromebooks would also disadvantage students who may not have an internet connection at home. Those students would have to go to the public library or somewhere else that provides free Wi-fi in order to complete their assignments.

Chromebooks also don’t support LoggerPro. LoggerPro is used in science classes to analyze data and produce graphs. Honors Integrated Science used the program last semester to analyze motion and compare motion graphs. Advanced Physics used LoggerPro to measure the acceleration due to gravity of a pumpkin.

There is a graphing option for Chromebooks. Vernier, the company behind LoggerPro, offers a web app for Chromebook called Graphical Analysis which is a very basic version of LoggerPro. Graphical Analysis has some features of LoggerPro but doesn’t support many of the more advanced features.  By purchasing Chromebooks, we would be downgrading our software, not upgrading.

In defense of Chromebooks, they are less expensive than other options. However, we should look beyond the price. Yes, the budget is tight already, but we should do what is best for the students and teachers.

Also, paying for quality could save money in the long run. Instead of buying Chromebooks and replacing them in just a couple years, if we invested in quality devices, such as the Dell Latitude 3189, those devices could outlast the Chromebooks.