Students and Teachers React to Classroom Chromebook Mandate

New rules surrounding technology in the classroom are sparking mixed feelings among students. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students had the option of using a chromebook or a personal device in the classroom. This year, SJHHS created a new mandate requiring students to use only school-issued devices during classes.

“Personally that is what I use at home [a personal device] and so to be able to use that at school, there is less of a learning curve,” said senior Mckenna Douglas. 

Students feel that chromebooks lack not only in features and abilities as compared to many personal devices, but they can also function noticeably slower. “The internet is also a lot slower on the chromebooks than it is on my personal device. It genuinely hinders my ability to work.” said Douglas. 

“I bought a macbook for school, over 1000 dollars is a lot to drop.”

I bought a macbook for school, over 1000 dollars is a lot to drop”

— Mckenna Douglas

Sophomore, Isabella Schaller responded to the policy with a petition on Change.org, garnering over 300 signatures. 

“The school provided chrome books are small and often low quality, broken, have poor audio, and are functioning slowly. For many students, the use of school chrome books would impair their learning and make their school experience at San Juan Hills High School more stressful than it already may be.” Schaller wrote in the petition description.

Principal Dr. Manoj Mahindrakar was surprised by a negative student  reaction to the policy.

“For a long time, there was a big push to get chromebook carts into the classrooms, so it used to be the other way around. So the complaints would usually stem from ‘how could we get every kid to have one?” said Mahindrakar.

Math teacher Lisa Geisbrecht supports the chromebook mandate because it has helped improve student engagement through the application NetRef

“NetRef is a program on the teacher’s computer which allows for chromebook management.  It includes features like: allowing/blocking sites, limiting the [number] of tabs open, messaging whole class or individual students, etc.” said Geisbrecht.

While the enforcement of the new policy has brought about backlash from some students, most teachers and staff insist that chromebooks are necessary to improve efficiency in learning and troubleshooting.