Chromebooks to come soon

Ian Miller, Commentary Editor

Earlier this year, Bowie’s new principal, Mark Robinson, promised to bring many big changes to Bowie. Including the addition of personalized Chromebooks with the intent that they will help students perform better academically.

The Chromebooks are aimed towards initiatives such as AISD’s Blend, where all of a student’s learning can be found in one place. While originally promised to be distributed the week before midterms, due to scheduling conflicts, the distribution has been pushed back to early January. Robinson believes that the true potential of Chromebooks lies in its relation to Blend.

“The real connection here is going to be in Blend,”  Robinson said. “We’ve also used it as a virtual backpack, where we can pull all of that learning from the web and put the information into these modules in Blend that allow for easy teaching and learning.”

A big goal for educators is to connect with their students, and the addition of Chromebooks may help achieve this.

“I’m hoping there’s going to be an element of engagement,” school improvement facilitator Ruth Ann Widner said. “I think that when students leave this building on a daily basis, they’re immersed in technology; they’re used to it. I feel like, by adding these devices to classes, we’re normalizing the classroom – we’re getting the classroom caught up to the rest of the world.”

The Chromebooks are able to convert from a normal laptop with a keyboard into a portable tablet with a fully functional touchscreen. Additionally, they come with a durable protective sleeve to help prevent wear-and-tear on the device. Every student will be expected to bring the Chromebook to school with them each day.

“The device isn’t optional. You can’t opt out of using technology; that’s the same as saying ‘I don’t want to learn today,” Robinson said. “With these Chromebooks, the student’s learning is all contained in one device.”

Junior Collin Copley thinks the Chromebooks will help with his academic workload.

“I’m really looking forward to receiving these Chromebooks and the convenience they’ll bring,” Copley said. “I think it’ll really help with taking notes and completing assignments since everything I need for school is put into one device.”

Some students think otherwise.

“It seems unnecessary and a hassle to carry around, seeing as how I can just use my phone, which is just as good as the Chromebooks,” junior Harrison Hoover said.

A concern for many students was that the hassle of carrying them around.

“To me, these are non-negotiable learning tools,” Widner said. “I’m hoping students will accept the Chromebooks simply because it’s technology. It’s like when you first get a phone – sure, it’s inconvenient at first, having to carry around a phone, but once you get used to it, you find it a part of your daily habits.”

FROM TEXTBOOK TO CHROMEBOOK: Freshman Katie Bailey, looks at Blend on a Chromebook. The district hopes that the Chromebooks will improve student engagement and quality of learning. PHOTO BY Victoria Newell