The Student News Site of Buffalo High School

Bison Beat Online

The Student News Site of Buffalo High School

Bison Beat Online

The Student News Site of Buffalo High School

Bison Beat Online

Forcing the issue

Chromebooks aren’t always the best choice
Forcing+the+issue

The word “Chromebook” does not usually bring a positive image to the minds of most students. Now, no doubt we are lucky that we are able to offer them to students who do not have their own devices. But all too often it brings to mind the image of unending loading screens, poor trackpad sensitivity and boring plain black cases. The Chromebooks may be affordable for schools, but it doesn’t always feel like it for the students using them. Students with their own devices should be allowed to use those devices rather than being stuck with slower and less intuitive Chromebooks. 

Chromebooks are painfully laggy. In my sophomore year, I got a MacBook for Christmas to use for school, and I was excited. MacBooks are lighter to carry, and slimmer so they fit better into a backpack. And they run, well, quickly. When I wasn’t allowed to use it for my junior year, I was constantly having to slow down to let the Chromebook catch up. As a journalist and a writer, this caused major issues. Creative moments strike me randomly, and it would be nice to be able to keep all of my thoughts on my laptop, but alas, the Chromebook is not made for creatives. The amount of time it takes for me to switch tabs or open a Google Doc and write down what I have in mind while the letters are dragging behind is far more cumbersome than it would be on my own personal computer. This problem affects more than just writers, too. Long wait times are nothing new to students on Chromebooks. The Google Classroom page loads… and loads… and loads… and all of a sudden, class is over. While it may be simply an unfortunate characteristic of Chromebooks, those with their own devices should not have to suffer this loading screen purgatory.  

Chromebooks are boring. Not only does the Chromebook block a writer’s creative process, it’s also boring to look at. Completely devoid of personality. We are not allowed to put stickers on our Chromebooks, not allowed to change the background and not allowed to take it out of the case. Class is a monotonous sea of black laptop cases, boring and uninspired. A study published in Science Daily in 2008 found that colors have genuine effects on people’s psychology, namely blue’s ability to motivate people and red’s ability to enhance one’s attention to detail. Given how influential these abilities are, it’s easy to see how their lack could negatively affect students. Not to mention the ability stickers and case choices can have for expressing yourself. For students who have their own devices, this expression can happen with no damage to school property. But since we are not allowed to use our own devices, we are stuck with the boring uniformity. 

According to the district, the refusal to allow students to use their own devices is for the safety of the network. The network and blocked websites bring up a whole new set of issues, though. Arbitrary blocked websites limit research. So many times have I heard a student in one of my classes say, “I’m trying to find a source, but the website is blocked.” Websites seem to be blocked randomly, leaving few sites to cite in an essay. Research becomes difficult, sometimes impossible, depending on the topic. Not to mention, extracurriculars like speech, debate, current events and journalism need to be able to access a lot of different news outlets for data and information is crucial to the entire structure of the program, but when these websites are blocked, we have no access to them. 

Some may argue that using their own devices will lead students to go to websites they’re not supposed to and being distracted during class; however, this happens as it is anyway. It’s not unusual to see someone playing Tetris, talking to their friends on Discord, listening to music, or watching a movie on an illegal website. Using Chromebooks is clearly not stopping students from doing what they want no matter how hard administrators try. Teenagers will be teenagers, and they will find a workaround. These workarounds could actually harm the system more than allowing students direct access to more sites.  

Chromebooks are a useful tool for students, there is no doubt about that. The benefits of teachers being able to post and grade and teach using technology is definitely an advantage. But the truth is, Chromebooks themselves are limiting, and while they may be the best solution for students who have no other choice, students who have their own devices should be allowed to use them. 

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About the Contributor
Ryan Brown, Editorial Team
Ryan Brown is a junior and a member of the editorial team. Ryan has been instrumental in starting the Bison Insider Podcast this year and is a member of the Texas All-State Journalism Staff. Last spring, Ryan competed in UIL journalism at state, winning a medal at that competition as well as in several state ILPC contests.

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