Chromebook catastrophe — LAUSD students frustrated and unmotivated during distance learning

Lagging screens, multiple trips to the IT technician and frustrated students: If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Students are relying on their school-issued Chromebook devices now more than ever in this period of distance learning. 

How are Chromebooks holding up?

According to both middle school and high school students at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies, they aren’t. Many of them have opted out of using their school-issued Chromebooks and have begun using their own personal devices.

“I started using my phone for all of my Zoom classes to avoid the technical difficulties from my Chromebook,” Noemi Alvarado, a junior at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies said.

Students with their own laptops and cell phones have been quick to make the switch. Some have even gone out of their way to purchase an entirely new device. Unfortunately, not every student has the ability to purchase or use their own device, which has left them to rely on their Chromebooks. 

The lack of features on the Chromebooks have left students feeling frustrated, unmotivated and stressed.

“Every time I use my Chromebook I can’t get into my Zoom meetings, the internet is bad, it’s so slow and my teachers tell me I have microphone issues,” Alvarado said.

She notices that she can’t run Zoom and Schoology simultaneously without facing extreme lag and complications. Alvarado went on to explain that multitasking while in a live Zoom class feels almost impossible.

However, Alvarado is not the only student who has been kicked out of her classes while using her Chromebook.

“There have been times I’ve gotten kicked out of Zoom calls four times in one day! I can’t really tell how my Chromebook will react. Sometimes I can get back into class and other times I can’t,” Bianca Arellano, a seventh-grade student said.

Arellano is one of many students who have to deal with Chromebook related issues and has been left feeling unmotivated and discouraged to engage in her school work.

When technical problems from the Chromebooks arise, students can set up appointments at school with the IT support technician, Reynaldo Taluban. If he can’t fix the problem right away, students will receive a new device.

However, will receiving a new Chromebook solve the problem? The answer is no for students like Arellano and senior Diana Oliva. 

“I had to get my Chromebook repaired because it would not turn on at all. I went in and came out right away because I was handed a new device,” Oliva said.

After she received her new device, her microphone began to have problems which ultimately had her make the decision to use her personal device. 

According to Google’s policy on Chromebooks, they have an average lifespan of four to five years. The policy also states that the devices even come with their own expiration date.

This raises red flags for students who are nearing their fourth year with the device. This may be the reason for the lagging screens and complications brought by the Chromebooks, or the devices may be burning out due to overuse from distance learning.

Whatever the reason, distance learning continues for LAUSD students and some say it’s a Chromebook catastrophe.

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