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Mixed reception for new Chromebooks

by Julia Spano

by Julia Spano

Julia Spano, World news editor

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With the start of the 2018-19 school year, every student opened up Chromebook boxes to discover a new model: the Acer N16Q14, a brand-new computer with tablet capabilities and built-in cases.

According to district tech advisor Todd MacDonald, the new Chromebooks were specifically chosen to provide students with “flexibility and choice” in their learning. Despite the good intentions, some students are less than satisfied.

“The computers are really slow, much slower than last year,” junior Nathaniel Endick said.

The school’s inconsistent internet connectivity is one of the more common complaints among students, along with the computer’s bulky cases, and unresponsive touch screens.

Interestingly, the Acer models were originally chosen by the students themselves. The process began when samples from every major Chromebook company– Acer, Dell and others– were received by technology directors Todd MacDonald and Joel Handler, who select a new model every four years.

For the next four years, we wanted a convertible touch-screen device,” MacDonald said. “So, we limited our selections to models that had these features.”

To finalize the decision, each Hillsborough school’s tech hubs gave students the Chromebooks and asked them for feedback. The survey’s results were very even across the board, but the Acer models were chosen for a combination of the safety features and second webcam.

However, students remain bothered by some of the very capabilities MacDonald and Handler emphasized. While most students say they are pleased with the ability to flip the screen, and turn the Chromebook into a tablet, some are concerned with how these capabilities will be used in the classroom.

“The touchscreen capacities are rendered null without the stylus,” junior Alicia Liu said. “There’s honestly little point to pay extra for a two in one laptop if the touchscreen capabilities aren’t fully used.”

Still, the majority of students– and parents– are willing to deal with the Chromebook’s flaws in exchange for its attractions. And that bulky case, while cited as “annoying” by several students, will save thousands of dollars in repair money, particularly for those who can’t afford insurance.

There have not been any serious problems so far,” MacDonald said.

However, it remains to be seen whether the students will agree with him in the long run.

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Mixed reception for new Chromebooks