Story and Photo by Justice Nawman

With a new school year comes new changes. For the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, students were greeted by new administration, modified school policies, and their very own laptop.

On August 8 and 9, long lines of students waited patiently at iCare for the chance to receive a Google Chromebook.

The Chromebook, first given to middle school students, became the new technology of choice across District Five as a part of the i5 Technology initiative, replacing the iPads from previous years. Chromebooks make life a lot easier for teachers and students because they give teachers the opportunity to create and send their assignments to students via Google Classroom and save paper by linking important documents to Google Drive. A Chromebook not only makes completing assignments a more quicker and painless process, but also cuts down on technological issues that the district has faced in the past.

A Google Chromebook has proven to be a more advantageous option for two main reasons. The first is cost efficiency. Because it already has a keyboard and case, it cuts down on the need for extra materials and provides everything students need right at their fingertips. There is also not a required insurance fee that parents have to pay up front. Instead, the Chromebook is now an extension of one’s already existing fees. In case of breakage or any other accidental damage, such as a spill, the Chromebook is guaranteed one free repair by the district. This is helpful to parents because it saves them money, but also lets them know that their student can make a mistake worry free without repercussions. The second reason that a Chromebook is the better choice for educational success is that it makes the classroom more interactive. Because Google is such an easily accessible platform, teachers can interact with their students and organize assignments in a way their class can comprehend. Students can also quickly type their assignments for class, save them to Google Drive, and turn them into Classroom all at one time.

The main disadvantage of the iPad is that it isn’t necessarily a school-oriented device. While the iPad was productive in some aspects, it ultimately fell flat when it came to education. When they were bored, students would sometimes play games and do other things besides schoolwork. Having a Chromebook limits distractions because it blocks certain websites at school and puts all the attention on the tasks at hand.

It’s unhealthy for teenagers this day in age to carry around a heavy bookbag and excessive weight placed on the back can lead to serious complications in the future. A major disadvantage of the Chromebook is that it adds extra weight to a student’s bookbag and is bulky due to its size and the protective case surrounding it. The iPad, on the other hand, feels practically weightless.

While both the Chromebook and iPad are vital to the learning experience, the Chromebook has proven to be the more effective device because of its simplicity and overall proficiency. Because of its many limitations, the iPad isn’t a great choice for student learning, but makes life simpler from an accessibility standpoint. Having all these pros and cons in mind, it is safe to say that Chromebooks have proven their place in the instructional system and should be here to stay for years to come.