The Downfall of Chromebooks in the Classroom

The Downfall of Chromebooks in the Classroom

Joe Dimino, Staff Writer

Since Revere High switched from iPads to Chromebooks four years ago, restrictions have continuously been added to make sure students are doing their work on their Chromebooks. However, it’s entirely possible that these restrictions have gone too far and are actually becoming a hindrance on students’ ability to do work. This past summer vacation, new restrictions were put on the Chromebooks which blocked all Google Chrome extensions except for a PDF Editor named Kami, which is often used in classes, . About a month into this year, popular editing extension, Grammarly, was unblocked. The question remainsL: is a restriction this far-reaching causing more issues for students than helping? Currently, students are saying yes.

One of the most major effects of these restrictions are that all forms of Adblock are now impossible to download. On a cheap laptop,such as the Chromebook,  Adblock can be one of the most useful extensions a user can have. It makes sites cluttered with ads usable and speeds up web browsing altogether. Without Adblock, students like myself and others have experienced websites getting slower and some sites are almost unusable without an Adblocker.

Extensions like Adblock getting banned from the school can cause issues with the Chromebook itself too. Having to load tons of ads on popular sites such as YouTube and even news websites can put a huge strain on the low-end central processing unit (CPU) that our Chromebooks have. The CPU our Chromebooks have compares terribly to both low end and high end CPUs made by other brands and different models by the same brand. This can result in a much shorter battery life compared to a Chromebook that has Adblock installed due to more strain being put on the processor. A laptop that’s on sale for barely over $100 needs as much support as it can get, especially  since the Chromebooks we have are simply intended to run Google products such as YouTube, Drive, Docs, and Slides. With what’s built in, even normal web browsing can become a hassle for the computer. Without Adblock, tons of problems can result stemming from the low-end parts not being able to handle the amount of ads that appear on websites in 2019.

Not only has Adblock been completely ruled out, but the vast majority of Chrome apps, extensions, and themes have been too. Students can no longer mold Chrome into what best suits their needs. All themes are blocked, so students are stuck with a default Chrome browser. The ability to customize Chromebooks to the person’s liking is almost completely gone, aside from being able to change the wallpaper.

It’s important for students to be able to set up their Chromebook how they want. There’s no harm in allowing students to personalize their Chromebooks that they pay money for. People like to set their devices up in the way that bests suits them. Since all changes are completely account based, there’s no effects on other people when a student decides to put something like a new theme onto his Chromebook.

These restrictions need to stop, or at least slow down, before it gets to the point where the Chromebooks are next to useless. Schools use Chromebooks because they’re much cheaper than iPads to purchase and replace, and they are overall more useful than iPads when it comes to doing work. When restrictions start to actually affect the performance of these Chromebooks, that’s when the restrictions need to stop and possibly take a step back. Things like themes, Adblock, and the majority of extensions have no effect on the safety of students or the Chromebooks themselves. If there is a dangerous extension, it can be blocked by the device administrators. Mass restrictions such as what happened over this Summer not only cause issues for students who are never informed about these restrictions, despite these restrictions affecting them the most, but they can cause issues for teachers who will now have to wait longer for Chromebooks to open webpages needed for lessons.


Citations: HP, 2016 PassMark Software, 2014 (updated through 2019)