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Chromebooks tell COW carts to mooove over

Students line up to receive their Chromebooks that are being distributed by Mr. McWilliams.

Devin Barge

Students line up to receive their Chromebooks that are being distributed by Mr. McWilliams.

by Devin Barge and Hannah Haught

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The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/6agfb

When most students think about computers in the classroom, their minds automatically go to the slow and clunky laptops in the COW carts or the typical desktops in the labs. At the beginning of second term, LHS went 1:1 with Chromebooks.

Of all the FCPS schools, only four are 1:1 in Spring 2017:  Linganore, Oakdale, Brunswick, and Catoctin. Last year, Oakdale piloted the program.  With the 1:1 initiative, the COW carts will be redistributed to other schools.

The freshmen were the first to receive the Chromebooks at the beginning of the year. On January 30, grades 10-12 received theirs. Freshman and seniors receive the basic models, while sophomores and juniors will be getting the touch screen models.

Chromebooks are lightweight, quick computers which are now being brought into schools for academic purposes. This means that each student is assigned their own electronic device for school work. The security deposit for all students is $30 per semester.  The replacement price for the basic model is $150, and the touchscreen models costs $240.

Social studies teacher, Mr. James Hines said, “The goal of a one-to-one school is to reduce the amount of paper consumption used in the school, provide students with quick access to information, and transform the old factory model system to a more modern technologically based system.”

Students are issued their Chromebooks with a case and a charger.

The Chromebooks are also a new responsibility.  When a student checks out a Chromebook, he or she is responsible for keeping it safe and utilizing it for its intended purpose.

“Keeping it charged and keeping track of it can be difficult,” said Class of 2020 member Payton Ford.

Students can take them with them from class to class and home. The laptop has a battery life of eight to ten hours, which is more then enough time for a typical school day. Students can even charge their Chromebooks in class if needed. The laptop uses an Intel x86 processor, which allows it to run at very fast speeds.

“With Chromebooks, you have to be in the cloud. There is no hard drive or memory system, which allows them to start up faster and be readily accessible within seconds,” said Hines. “Quick start up times would definitely be a help to the class. I’ve been using COW carts, and they usually take 5 to 10 minutes to log in. By allowing everyone in the class to access Google Classroom and Google Slides in a shorter amount of time will be a great help,” he added.

More than 20,000,000 students already use Google Apps, and Chromebooks would make these tools easier to utilize. Chromebooks give students access to a broader range of information, and they allow students beyond what is learned in the classroom.

Since the laptops run on Google Chrome, they make apps such as Drive, Docs, and Classroom a breeze for students to use.

“We’re excited about this opportunity for student to learn in different ways than they used to, ” said Principal Nancy Doll.

The computers are also helpful in decreasing the use of paper, something FCPS has been emphasizing. With work being assigned and submitted electronically, the need for excessive printing is eliminated.

“I have access to a lot of resources I wouldn’t be able to use without [Chromebooks]. I also like that it saves trees,” said Alexis Fowler, Class of 2020.

There are some negatives to using Chromebooks, too. Class of 2020, Kojo Benefo said, ” They are more breakable and fragile in comparisons to other computers, and aren’t compatible with service such as JavaScript.”

Chromebooks are not connected to school printers.  For some courses, that is an additional difficulty.

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Chromebooks tell COW carts to mooove over