Chromebook quest enters next stage through middle schools

A full year passed, and chromebooks have surpassed the test of time that induced much skepticism for some in the Oshkosh Area School District. As part of a technology initiative referendum, approved by the district voters in 2014, teachers were issued chromebooks. High school students then received their chromebooks in 2015. In the middle schools, students have had to wait to receive their devices until this year, and elementary students are receiving their technology in 2017.

“I am hoping that providing our students with chromebooks will help them prepare for the future,” Perry Tipler Middle School Principal Jay Jones said.

Administrators advocate the idea of equal opportunities for every student and faculty member in the district. As technology becomes a more accessible resource for students, it’s essential that school districts keep up.

“As a teacher, I hope to become more efficient with my technology use. As of right now, I have only seen improvements in learning. Students have not had them for a long time though, so it may be too early to tell the full extent” said Dayton Moenning, teacher at Tipler.

While students have not had this new technology as a resource for more than a couple of weeks, the structure of the classroom is adapting quickly. Most homework assignments are now turned in online, as well as tests and quizzes.

“I’d say I use my chromebook in about 90% of my classes. I think it’s a great learning tool that enhances the way subjects are taught,” Carl Traeger eighth grader Jack Rowe said.

Not only are students enjoying the new learning style, they are also quickly discovering some of the other perks that come along with having a personal computer.

“The chromebooks are great because they are much more interactive than normal, boring textbooks. They’re also fun because there are so many games,” Zade Alzoubi, also an eighth grader at Traeger, said.

Tipler student Audrey Carrick agrees.

“I think a lot of teachers find good ways to incorporate them; if you forget a textbook you can easily access it online. Plus I can watch Netflix at home whenever I want to,” she said.

Chromebooks do have their downsides though. For instance, in middle school students are not allowed to carry backpacks from class to class.

“Sometimes they just seem like big, annoying, clunky objects,” Alzoubi said.

Not only can they be a hassle to carry around, but they can be difficult to keep protected as well. Students receive one free repair and after that they must pay for any damage done.

“The straps break too easily,” Carrick said. “The protective strap is too loose and my Chromebook falls out all the time.”

Middle school students must abide by the same rules as West students. The are not allowed to charge their chromebooks at school, not even during their study halls. Another major problem middle schoolers have encountered are the restrictions on certain websites such as Sparknotes, Cliffnotes, and other studying aids.

In response to these inconveniences, some students have chosen to not use their chromebooks. For some, it is simply better for their learning since handwriting notes has been proven to increase memorization, according to literacy teacher James Bosovic of Tipler.

“A few students have chosen to go ‘old school’ and prefer pen and paper,” he said. Though he hopes this will change with time.“I really hope to eliminate 90% of the paper I once had to hand out in my classes. The chromebooks offer a great opportunity to move towards a paperless classroom.”

Despite these minor hindrances, administrators of the school board still view them as viable assets to learning that will set students up for success at the next level.

“Overall, I feel that it was a good idea to invest in Chromebooks at the middle school level,” Jones said.

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