Since 2015, chromebooks have been essential in all classrooms in Montgomery County Public Schools. The laptops are used daily, and students use them in almost every class in their schedule.
The chromebooks have not been replaced so some students may struggle to use the laptops because they are falling apart. When students open the chromebook cart there is usually either a laptop missing, or one being fixed. “Everytime I open a chromebook, there is always something wrong with it. There is a button missing or the touchpad is ripping off,” sophomore Drew Rubinstein said.
The chromebooks are also expensive: and the replacement of one cart is over $1,000. Students do not think about the expense of the item and instead think they of them as gadgets to play with. Chromebooks are mistreated and are rarely valued by the students.
There are 63 carts and 32 chromebooks per cart, totaling over 2,000 chromebooks around the school. IT specialist Bob Oslund spends about 20 percent of his time focused on tracking down and fixing the chromebooks. It is hard to maintain and also fix the number of chromebooks that are misused by students. “75 percent of the broken chromebooks are preventable, and caused by students,” Oslund said.
Another problem is the amount of money that needs to go into fixing the laptops. Oslund gets about seven to eight chromebooks to fix every week, and about three of them need new parts. These parts are expensive and cost about $60 , depending on the part that is misused. Students consistently drop their computers or hold the laptop by the screen. “The laptops that are hardest to fix are when students drop them and the lid is broken, or the keyboard is unresponsive,” Oslund said.
With even less county money to spend on providing chromebooks that are in adequate working condition, students will be even less lucky when playing their day-to-day game of roulette at the chromebook cart. These broken devices have a larger effect on a classroom than they seem to be able to cause. It isn’t uncommon to find a student wandering the hallways in an attempt to find a spare computer to replace their room’s missing one. Standardized tests, or even simple in-class tasks are often put off due to an interruption caused by the malfunction of a student’s chromebook. “I have to go to a different English teacher every day to find a new chromebook,” senior Jessica Trzeciak said.
Sometimes the injuries to the laptop get too extreme and they are unfixable. So for this year there have been two chromebooks that needed to be sent in, because of a system board or hard drive breaking. These problems are unfixable and new books will have to be ordered. The chromebooks are easily destroyed and get dirty within a couple months. Students should bring their own laptops, or decide to treat the school’s chromebooks as if they were their own.
5 of 9 editoral board members agreed