When hearing about West getting Chromebooks, I wasn’t phased at all. Many of my friends from other schools have computers provided, and it didn’t seem any different than that. Usually, students have the chance to sign up for a laptop at the beginning of the year to keep and use through their time at the school. Why would this be any different?
Little did I know that, after spending $2,000 on my personal laptop the year before, I would be forced into using one of these Chromebooks. My computer works better, can do more and I feel more comfortable when using it. I was seriously taken aback when the school informed me that I would not be allowed to use it.
Not only was I upset, but so were my parents. They laughed when they found out, because Chromebooks were not the only rule that West High had created in my years here that has seemed over-the-top unnecessary and, sadly, comical because of the efforts they took to try to improve the school which actually pushed it a step back.
I have only used my chromebook twice so far this year. What did I use it for you may ask? Netflix while doing homework at 2 a.m.. My Chromebook sits at home everyday, going unused inside of a drawer. My Macbook comes to school with me, gets generous use and my teachers could care less if I used it.
But it doesn’t stop here. Not only are these Chromebooks being forced upon us, but our privacy is being ripped away. These computers are monitored by the district. Google Chrome has three or so plugins in the menu that the district has installed to block an abundance of websites. These sites are not anything that should be blocked either. When trying to listen to a song at dance, I decided to try using the Chromebook to test the sound quality. “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit is blocked on every type of website. Why?!
Being able to see every single website I go on, how long I spent on it, and then send it to my parents is a complete violation of my privacy. And to not inform us beforehand that this would be the case was a really bad decision. From the moment I learned this, I instantly covered my camera up with a sticky note and shoved my Chromebook in a drawer. It is not the fact that the school knows that I bought three new dresses from Lulu’s during my french class that bothers me. No, it is the fact that they feel entitled enough to hack into our lives. ICCSD, you really think you can get away with that?
All of my friends have started bringing their personal laptops to school. We still use real textbooks. We do our assignments on real paper, because the teachers don’t seem to keen on this issue either, and we do real activities in class instead of stare at a screen all day like robots.
We are humans. We cannot function staring at a little screen all day. I want to read, write and learn from a teacher. I want to make eye contact with people and use a pencil. These Chromebooks are going to dumb down this school, and take away so many social aspects of learning. As if we don’t already spend too much time on our phones, now brains are going to be fried after starting into a screen for literally the whole day thanks to our Chromebooks.
We have a right to our privacy. We have a right to use the computer we paid for. We have a right to learn the way that best benefits us. We should not have these Chromebooks forced upon us. We need to have a choice to use them, so please ICCSD, give us that choice, and figure yourself out.