OPINION: Despite tech problems with Chromebooks, students must show patience


By Tali Offir, Managing Editor

As students fret about teachers still using the notorious GoGuardian despite them actually being in the school, many turn to their personal computer. Remote learning has flipped our everyday life upside down and the day to day school life differs for each student. Whether you are waking up at 7:30 a.m. or 8:10 a.m., five minutes before having to flip open your laptop, students’ days also seem to vary when it comes to whether they are using school administered Chromebooks or a personal laptop. Many students face difficulties each day when it comes to using their Chromebook, and ultimately, switching to their personal computer gives them a better experience. 

Vice Principal Kimberly Westervelt explains that when students use their personal computers, it makes it harder for the administration to help students when they have a technical problem on Zoom. “If students are having a technical difficulty, tech support can go into their [Chromebooks] and help them,” Westervelt said. Tech support cannot go into personal computers regardless if students are logged onto their West Essex account or not. However, when students truly have a problem with their school administered Chromebook, it is recommended that they use a personal computer for the time being. Most teachers have been flexible with letting students use either one. 

When the administration gets access to updates, they can benefit students’ distance learning experience. “The applications and softwares updates we get, we can push on the chromebooks,” Westervelt said.  If students use their personal computer, they can not get all the advantages that the school sends onto the Chromebooks. As expected, many students worry about teachers watching what they are doing on their computers. Many students think it is unfair because they are at home and teachers should not be able to control what they are doing. The administration has been dealing with a lot of alterations in their average school day, but a functioning computer seems to be the most important tool right now for students. Unfortunately, at the end of the day though, we are “in” school and we must follow the rules. 

Regardless of the many technical difficulties students face, the administrators believe that the Chromebooks have the ability to be a useful tool for distance learning. “I think they have the capability to be effective for Zoom,” Westervelt said. However, the administration is not disregarding the fact that sometimes these devices can not operate properly. They have been very open to helping out students that face difficulties and those that truly can’t get their Chromebooks to cooperate, can come in to get new models. Using a personal computer, however, has helped many students dodge the frustrating aspects of distance learning. 

“I think what’s happening is a learning curve. What we did in the spring wasn’t as effective, so we adjusted our plan,” Westervelt said.

At the end of the day, the teachers and administration are just as new to this as the students. They are also trying to figure out the best possible way to make this a better experience for everyone. Students tend to forget that this can be hard on the administrators as well, and we need to be understanding of the circumstances we have been put into.