If you’ll indulge me here, I’d like to take you on a brief trip down memory lane in remembering your sophomore year. I don’t know, what classes you were in, or who your friends were, or what you were doing, but I’m certain you were at least a little bit angry when it was announced that the then-freshman Class of 2020 was getting Chromebooks.
Chromebooks, of course, are small portable laptops running Chrome OS, a souped-up version of Google’s own Android OS. Despite their shortcomings, it soon became obvious that they were making school for the freshmen considerably easier. Access to the Google Classroom ecosystem on a newly installed school-wide WiFi system was a big deal, and quickly made pen-and-paper learning feel almost archaic.
Since then, as these last two years have progressed, new Freshmen have come in, armed to take on their high school diplomas with 2GB of RAM and a surprisingly usable keyboard. Teachers have reminded us time and time again that they use Chromebooks with all their other classes, but for us they need to print things, and the Chromebook carts are an increasing presence roaring down the hallways, bumping into Freshmen and slamming against lockers.
It’s become the norm here for upperclassmen at PHS to live our lives without Chromebooks. But now, this Monday, September 17, seniors are due to recieve their long-awaited laptops.
This morning at 9:47 AM, Mr. Buckley sent the Class of 2019 an email titled “Chromebook for Seniors.” I know you might not want to, but I’d encourage you all to actually check your student inboxes. The email will be there.
Within lies some information regarding the process, an interesting tidbit about a $20 fee to keep the Chromebooks after graduation (more on that shortly), and THIS LINK. The link takes you to the Family ID website, which is where you need to go to sign up for one of these Chromebooks.
*IMPORTANT: IF YOU DON’T SIGN UP AT THAT LINK, YOU WON’T BE GETTING A CHROMEBOOK ON MONDAY*
The sign-up process is about as simple as you could possibly imagine. Still, rumors find a way spread amongst the students, because we’re high schoolers and we desperately look for something to gossip about.
I’ve chosen to take the ethical route, and have taken these rumors to the people actually qualified to dispel them.
I approached the front desk in the Library after school this afternoon. Mrs. Moylan was sitting a few feet away, and Tanner Times editor Gabe Goldman was standing beside me, iPhone voice-recorder-app in hand. I had a brief conversation with the always-helpful IT staff, the people who will fix your warrantied Chromebooks if you somehow damage them.
Zach Stark: A lot of people have been saying that these are just old hand-me-down Chromebooks from some other district or something.
Brian Condon: “No. They're the Chromebooks that the eighth graders at the Higgins turned in last year, but over the summer we completely broke them down, ordered new parts, cleaned them up, and put them back together. Yes, they are used, but they've been refurbished."
Chris Mitchell: "They're also still warrantied for another year.”
BC: "That too. Anything breaks, we can order new parts for you guys."
ZS: The other big thing people are wondering about is the twenty-dollar fee to keep the Chromebook. Is there a catch there? How does that work?
BC: “Pay the twenty dollars, it's yours to keep forever. If you don't pay the fee, we take it back before graduation."
ZS: And they're getting handed out Monday?
BC: "That's the plan, as far as I know. As long as you're signed up, you'll get a Chromebook on Monday. The plan will be explained during one of your classes."