Hopatcong freshmen were met with many firsts upon entering the building in September; however, the most prominent, by far, occurred when they received their Chromebooks on September 16. Freshmen will be the first class to have Chromebooks all four years at the Hopatcong High School and will use them to help enhance their learning experience.
Ninth grade students received their Chromebooks during their gym periods in mid-September. Having access to Chromebooks allows students to research information in class without having to share their laptop with another student. Students had mixed reactions to the use of Chromebooks in and out of the classroom. Freshman Serena Rawle said that Chromebooks create too much of a distraction in class. “People can work on homework for other classes because teachers don’t always tell you to close your Chromebook,” she said.
Freshman, Anily Merino, said that having Chromebooks for all four years will benefit freshmen. “I don’t think that the seniors will be using them as much because they won’t be as used to them, but teachers are changing their lessons to include Chromebooks, so freshmen will get better use out of them,” Anily said. “Seniors are only using them for one year; I think it’s a big waste of money.”
One of the problems with the students receiving Chromebooks, according to Rawle, would be that they create distractions. “When teachers give work to do, people can be playing games or doing something completely unrelated to the assignment,” she said. When asked about this issue, English teacher Ms. Lisa Kenny, said that she doesn’t think that the Chromebook will be a distraction at all. “Students have been around laptops, iPads, and now Chromebooks for most of their lives. It’s something they’re familiar with and it’s part of their daily routine,” Kenny said.
Regardless of opinion, freshmen students will make Hopatcong history by being the first class to have Chromebooks for all for years of high school. The freshmen will be able to take their Chromebooks home over the summer, as well as use them for as long as they need in high school, where the seniors will only have access to their Chromebooks for one year.
English teacher Ms. Sandra DeRose does not consider senior Chromebook distribution a waste of money. “Technology is here to stay,” Ms. DeRose pointed out. “Seniors’ use of the Chromebook will prepare them for a technologically-infused future. Of course, it is to freshmen benefit that their training comes with four years of Chromebook experience,” she added.
According to EdTech Magazine, about 75 percent of educators surveyed in the US prefer the use of technology, primarily document sharing programs, in the classroom instead of writing work out by hand. Google Docs is a website which allows students to send a document to a classmate, so that both students can work on the document together without having to leave their seat. Still, it takes some getting used to. “Google Docs frustrates me,” said freshman, Gianna Kestenholz. “I like writing work out by hand. It’s easier to tell who did the work because of their handwriting, but by computers someone else can do the work for you.”
Although the use of Chromebooks in the classroom is not perfected yet, it most likely will come with time. Teachers will start to incorporate Chromebooks into their daily lessons, and students will grow used to them. According to Anily Merino, “We’re being pushed into a new era of technology. The world is changing, and we should be changing with it.”