Public Opinion Regarding the Chromebooks

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For the school year of 2015-2016, East Pennsboro Area School District administered Google Chromebooks to every student in grades 5-12. The goal is to provide a learning environment that is consistent with modern technology and that allows students to think critically and research creatively.  When many people are affected by some kind of new implement in their daily routine, they form often various opinions.  The teachers and students of East Pennsboro Area High School have a lot to say about the Google Chromebooks affecting their education processes.

When asked how the Chromebooks facilitate their daily activities in their classes, students offered varying, insightful responses.  Senior Sam Signor said that the Chromebooks make his assignments more accessible and take away his worries about tracking down his work, because it is all in one place and automatically saves.  Senior Katelyn Morris appreciates that her Chromebook allows for faster note taking and provides many online activities for improving learning and making it more fun and understandable.  Emphatically, Katelyn said, “I love my Chromie.”  William Proventud, a freshman, offered the opinion that Chromebooks do not facilitate his daily activities, since his Chromebook does not always work smoothly and quickly.  

Students also answered a question asking how the Chromebooks facilitate their ability to complete homework efficiently.  Sam Signor replied that his Chromebook does not affect the way he does his homework.  Katelyn Morris said she likes that all classes are on one central page and that she has easy access to homework assignments.  Despite William Proventud’s previously discouraging response, he said that his Chromebook greatly assists him with his homework.  

When asked how the Chromebooks impede their school work or distract them from learning, pupils offered perceptive replies.  Signor said that Chromebooks impede his school work, because he can not print his assignments from them.  Morris responded that she has a lot of tabs open all the time and not all of them are school related so she has the tendency to look at other tabs during class and get distracted by working on other things.  Proventud said he sometimes gets frustrated trying to learn on his Chromebook, because the teachers are not all completely trained or able to help him use it.  

Students also answered a question inquiring how well they believe EPASD is accomplishing the goal of promoting modern technology, critical thinking, and creative research.   Signor said he believes the Chromebooks definitely aid his research process, especially for projects.  Morris replied that the Chromebooks are doing a good job reaching their goal and she said that teachers should use them even more and be more open to the change in their classrooms.  Preventud responded that on a scale of one to ten, he believes EPASD deserves a score of five and a half for reaching their goals with the Chromebooks.

When asked how Chromebooks facilitate their teaching process, teachers offered various, intelligent replies.  High school English teacher Mrs. Ann Vasquez said that she appreciates classroom pages and providing information for students on them instead of needing to print work and have hard copies ready for students.  She also likes that the Chromebooks make it easier for absent students to access any work that they missed.  High school history teacher Mrs. Kelly Burkhart said that the Chromebooks have not changed the way she teachers, but she uses them to enhance the activities she was already doing, because they provide more opportunities for students.  Similarly to Vasquez, Burkhart likes the classroom pages and uses them for all of her classes.  She believes the google classroom app is one of the best apps for submitting and grading work and informing students of due dates with the calendar feature.

Teachers also offered their opinions regarding how the Chromebooks impede their teaching processes.  Vasquez said she is still learning how to grade electronically and the online process takes her longer to complete than the familiar paper and pencil way.  She also struggles finding students’ submissions, because students turn them in on the classroom page and share google documents with her.  Burkhart said that the Chromebooks do not impede her teaching process, but she makes a point to be diligent to monitor students’ Chromebook use during note taking, because some students use their Chromebooks to play games.  She walks around her classes to ensure that her students’ screens have the notes on them and they are actively participating in classwork.   

When asked how much the good of the program outweighs the bad or if they have the opposite opinion, how much the bad outweighs the good, Vasquez and Burkhart offered thoughtful and helpful insight.  Vasquez said that right now she believes the Chromebooks’ good and bad qualities are equal, yet the program has potential for the good to outweigh the bad once everyone knows how to work the Chromebooks well and the teachers have more time to learn about them and experiment with them.  Burkhart also believes that there are both positives and negatives associated with the Chromebooks.  She said that teachers and students can use the new technology as much as they choose to and make decisions for their own classrooms and personal use regarding whether to use it responsibly for education purposes or use it to take away from the learning process.  She believes that the good and bad characteristics of Chromebook use depend on how they are utilized.

Like the students, teachers also answered an inquiry about how well EPASD is accomplishing the goal of promoting modern technology, critical thinking, and creative research.  Vasquez holds the opinion that the school district is still working on the goals, but there is great potential in the program for the goals to be met.  Burkhart said that as EPASD continues to push the 1:1 initiative there is great potential for East Pennsboro to become first rate in employing technology for education.  She believes the pupils and their guardians and the district’s staff members need more time to work out any kinks and provide the students with more opportunities to work with Chromebooks and teachers with more time to implement them in their classes.

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