Chromebooks Bring Change to Haven


David Ren, Opinions Editor

The 2019 to 2020 Strath Haven High School school year began with the implementation of the Chromebook 1:1 Initiative, which aims to distribute Chromebooks to all the students of Strath Haven High School.
But with such a major change coming into play, the question must be asked: how do Strath Haven students feel about the Chromebooks?
The students of the Class of 2022 and 2023 will, I assume, have more positive feelings about the Chromebooks based on the simple fact that they had started their high school experience with Chromebooks. In other words, since they have had access to Chromebooks from Day 1, they are more likely to view the Chromebooks as a necessary part of their high school experience.
On the other hand, the students of the Class of 2020 and 2021 may not share this mindset because of the exact opposite reason; they, unlike their younger counterparts, have made it through the majority of high school perfectly fine without Chromebooks. In addition to this, these students also have other reasons—such as the Chromebook’s limited rendering and computational speed—to justify their dislike of Chromebooks.
Junior Abby Dinardo attests to the poor quality of Strath Haven Chromebooks: “Nothing works at home. Google Docs just says “reconnecting” and “trying to connect,” but if you go on a different website it works perfectly fine. A bunch of Wikipedia pictures about discontinuities are blocked and I can’t watch Khan Academy videos. I kinda just have given up on using the Chromebook unless I really need to.”
And as for “nothing works at home,” the Chromebooks also exhibit problems while on Strath Haven campus—about half the students in my AP Calculus class (including Abby Dinardo and myself) were unable to access the College Board website, and other students have also complained about not having access to other educational sites, such as Quizlet.
Frustrated Junior Brendan Deppen has also stated: “This is ridiculous. My grandpa runs faster than my Chromebook.”
Another major impact that the Chromebooks have had on Strath Haven students is the discontinuation of Strath Haven Agenda Books (which the Chromebooks have made “obsolete”).
Furthermore, this year’s Agenda Book, in keeping with Strath Haven’s pursuit of a “more paperless atmosphere,” will not feature the Student Handbook; the Student Handbook will instead be uploaded to the internet.
No more printed Student Handbooks this year and no more Agenda Books the next? This is the end of an era.
And to prevent this end, I propose the removal of the unnecessary parts of the Strath Haven Agenda Book, such as pages giving students advice about studying, the “August” section, and the Periodic Table, as opposed to the entire Agenda Book itself. This would adhere to Strath Haven’s pursuit of a “more paperless atmosphere” while still providing students with a school-information-giving and task-tracking booklet that has become fundamental to their education.
But, in the end, Chromebooks might be the most cost-effective and sustainable form of technology available to Strath Haven High School. It provides a means of access to educational sites for students who are economically disadvantaged. It spurs the noble pursuit of a more paperless environment. And, following the removal of the library computers (which the Chromebooks have made obsolete), more students can study in the library at a more efficient pace.
All in all, the Chromebook 1:1 Initiative will have a profound effect on Strath Haven High School. While it is likely to be a positive effect for the students of The Class of 2022 and 2023, whether or not that effect will be positive or negative for the students of the Class of 2020 and 2021 will depend on the Juniors’ and Seniors’ patience, and the availability of technical help. Let us all hope that the Chromebook 1:1 Initiative will be remembered as a success in the following school years.