Are Chromebooks Beneficial to Students?
October 1, 2018
One-to-One? More Like No-to-No
Next year Greenville County Schools is officially going one-to-one with Chromebooks. This means that every student will have their own Chromebook that they are responsible for the entire school year. The introduction of this technological upgrade also brings drastic changes to the how and how students learn. The biggest issue with one-to-one technology is that it is not proven to actually improve students learning; in fact, The Organization for Economic Cooperation found that 15-year old students who use computers in the classroom generally score lower than their counterparts on math and reading tests. Why should we buy into the educational promises we are given when there is little evidence to support them? Chromebooks will hopefully come with engaging assignments that will better prepare students for 21st-century life while providing early access to hands-on design and creation applications. However, a 2009 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics found that technology in the classroom is used far more often for the completion of basic tasks, rather than engaging students in creative and thought-provoking assignments.
There are even more issues with going one-to-one. With an increase in technology also comes the need for increased connectivity and tech support. The Wi-fi at Wade Hampton is already slow enough throughout the school day with only a small number of computers online at a time. How will the internet handle every student in the building using their Chromebook almost every class period? It seems like there will be either a lot of lagging or the school will need to bolster our internet capabilities over the summer. Another issue is the lacking tech support at Wade Hampton. Without a real tech support presence at the school other than district people sent in occasionally how are issues with the Chromebooks going to be resolved? More people need to be hired and placed at schools to deal with the day-to-day issues students may have with their Chromebooks. This ultimately comes down to more money being spent, seemingly a huge part of the plan to go one-to-one.
Greenville County Schools is spending a tremendous amount of money to bring students one-to-one. The cost of the Chromebooks, support staff, and increased infrastructure all adds up and will continue to rise over time. While these Chromebooks will be great at first and are designed to last over time, eventually they will become obsolete or broken and will need to be replaced. These Chromebooks will be a never-ending tax burden. When asked if she thought the Chromebooks were worth the allocation of resources, senior Lillian Self replied, “It seems like the money could be used in better ways like increasing wages for teachers, buying better textbooks, or supporting art programs in schools.” Unfortunately, it is too late to turn back from going one-to-one. The whole district will be one-to-one next year; this program has been slowly unveiled over the past several years. So how has this done at other schools in the district? Northwood seventh-grader and future Wade Hampton student Lexi Mabry has had one-to-one technology since the fifth grade. When I asked her if one-to-one was useful in class she responded, “No, because you learn online instead of writing it down and when you write it down it’s like reading it seven times, it’s scientifically proven and now we wonder why people were smarter in the olden days.” She also revealed that her tests are mostly online, through MasteryConnect. The software does not stop students from opening another window to search the answer to a test. The district should be taking larger steps to ensure academic credibility and prevent the misuse of their devices and software. Ultimately, Lexi found that the Chromebooks were stupid and block everything. She even claimed that they are a bigger distraction than cell phones. The one-to-one wave is practically unstoppable now, but will it either be a pleasant wave on the beach or a tsunami with far-reaching consequences.
The Future of Education is One to One
The future is coming at full speed, introducing new ideas, techniques, and technology into every field imaginable, including education. Next year, Wade Hampton will embrace the future and become a one-to-one school, meaning that they will provide computers for every student. This is going to change the way every class is conducted. Students and teachers in the modern world already use technology to complete most school-related tasks. Teachers create notes and lessons using their school-issued computers while most students use personal devices to work on projects, finish homework, and complete a number of school-related tasks. Providing students with computers would help them finish their assignments that already rely heavily on technology. Google Classroom, Quizlet, and Kahoot, along with other sites, are already used in most classes, so school-issued Chromebooks could only help more students complete their assignments.
While some online activities are already used in classrooms, if every student had a computer teachers could utilize technology even more. Technology can help teachers be more efficient and keep students more involved and interested during class. Teachers spend a lot of time grading papers when they could better use their time creating lessons to help their students. Technology allows them to do this. They can do practice questions, quizzes, and tests online and receive immediate feedback. Activities completed online can also keep students more engaged. Instant responses help students be in the moment, listening to the lesson and completing tasks in real time. Plus, young adults are often more interested in technology since it is such an influential part of their life’s. It only makes sense that we would use this interest to get students more involved in their education. Freshman Claire Taylor said, “Technology definitely makes class more interesting. In my AP Human Geography class, we used these VR glasses, and that was really interesting and entertaining. Using technology in class is very engaging.”
Finally, giving each student a computer will help further prepare them for the world and their future careers. Currently, technology is used in almost every career imaginable. Understanding how to use online sites and programs along with how to complete schoolwork using technology is crucial to people wanting to enter the workforce. When every student has a Chromebook, and every teacher incorporates them into their classroom, students are guaranteed to receive a good education in the use of technology. Overall, ensuring that every student has access to a computer allows teachers to fully incorporate technology into their classroom which helps make class work more efficient, keeps students more involved during class, and prepares them for the workforce. By incorporating the one to one program, Wade Hampton is embracing the future and allowing teachers to educate their students better.