Behind the screens of student Chromebooks

What really goes down on student laptops?


Shua Lee

Many students spend their class time playing Snake Game and other games on their Chromebooks instead of doing their actual work.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months (and with COVID-19 raging again I don’t blame you) students received Chromebooks a while ago. 

I’d like to preface this article by saying how grateful I am that the district was able to give us all our own individual Chromebooks. With that being said, I have a love/hate relationship with these beautiful semi-operational devices. On one hand, these things are surprisingly durable. I can’t count the number of times I dropped my backpack on my bedroom floor, concrete, or off the third floor of the main building and it remained intact. 

This thing is built like a bargain bin Nokia. 

But the downside to being built like a brick is that my Chromebook has about the same processing power and functionality as one as well. There’s been just as many times where my Chromebook has taken an eternity to connect to the school WiFi. 

That’s not all. Certain websites such as Quizlet take forever to load for certain people for no reason. I’m not saying that the district is trying to sabotage our attempts at cramming by wreaking havoc on WiFi connection, but I don’t have any evidence saying otherwise. 

Now, of course I heard the Quizlet thing from somebody else, as I would never need to cram for a test during lunch. No way. OK maybe, but that’s besides the point. 

The cardinal sin, however, the one thing that cannot be forgiven, is that Cool Math Games was blocked on the Chromebooks! Not just that, dozens if not hundreds of other websites were blocked as well. Even Slack, which I need for newspaper, is blocked. 

How am I supposed to tell my editor that I made no progress on my story now?

Adding onto all of this, some teachers have started using an app called Securly, which allows them to monitor what students are doing on their Chromebooks. I mean seriously, what could students possibly be doing on their Chromebooks that would warrant such observation? 

Actually, that’s not a bad question. What are students really doing on their Chromebooks? I think I have a few ideas, such as searching,  ¨Why are finals a thing and how can I avoid them?¨ or ¨How to covertly pirate movies on school WiFi?¨

Some other searches included ¨When is the next three day weekend Cal High San Ramon?¨ and ¨Why don´t solar panels overheat?¨

Some of my favorite searches are ¨How to parallel park without crashing?¨ and ¨Are boneless wings just chicken nuggets?¨

Makes one really think.

With all this, it’s easy to see our Chromebooks as barely functional pieces of junk that only serve to answer our droll questions. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I reiterate that I am very thankful that we have these bargain bin Nokias. 

Who knows? Maybe I can think of a few better questions to search up like “How to be grateful for a free computer?”