School Vs Outside Computers


Marty Noone and Daniel O'Carroll

     The new issue in Ipswich High School is the use of non-issued school computers. The question is whether they provide an advantage or not and we’re here to help. Students have been asked to begin switching back to the school-issued Chromebooks to make classes fair for everyone, and statements have been made that if brought-from-home computers continue to be used in classes, the infamous “Student-BYOD” wifi connection will be shut down to make computers other than Chromebooks unusable. Macbooks have recently begun getting into controversy among the school administration on if they should be allowed to be utilized in school contrary to using a school-issued Chromebook during classes.  The new technology limitations have started upsetting students that frequently bring their MacBooks to school, which causes the question: Do Macbooks truly give an advantage over Chromebook students?

     Let’s first consider the similarities and differences between Macbooks and Chromebooks. Macbooks run on an operating system known as MacOS, while Chromebooks run on ChromeOS, two fairly different operating systems. This means that Macbooks have features that some Chromebooks may not, such as copying and pasting something from your computer to your iPhone. MacOS is usually updated with a large update every year, with little updates or bug fixes now and then, while ChromeOS is regularly updated every 6 weeks. Macbooks also have a larger variety of applications that can be installed that may not be available (or allowed) on school-issued Chromebooks. Another thing notable about Macbooks is their battery longevity, as their battery can go up to 17 hours when healthy, compared to the 13 hours a healthy Chromebook battery could go. The largest difference between the two, however, would have to be the price. Macbooks range from a price of $1,000 to upwards of $3,500, whereas Chromebooks range in price from $200 to $800. It is also important to note that Macbooks are not water-resistant, whereas many Chromebooks are.

     Students all over IHS believe that using outside computers offer no unfair advantage. Many students that use outside computers know they don’t offer unfair advantages, just because they can’t see what we look up or block what we want doesn’t mean it’s an advantage. An anonymous student believes, “It is stupid how they say Macbooks are better but provide nothing other than better data, internet speed and graphics. There are few security differences as the quizzes and tests they talk about are so few and you can easily get a Chromebook if needed from the library”. Many students believe the same thing and agree with the student, yet should mean something to the school but does not.

     Another issue was the security around computers in school. Chromebooks come with a security system coded into the computer that school technicians and staff are legally allowed to look at. With Macbooks and others, they can not do that anymore but still have tight security where they could not access wifi connection history and other things. Should schools even have a security system in the Chromebooks to watch students? They don’t explain why they need it or what it does so I say no. In a public school, we should be able to bring in our own devices as we have gone through online school where students are at home with whatever device they want. During Covid, this would have been a big issue but was not seen as one as cheating was a lot easier then. 

    Taking everything into consideration, it’s obvious that students who have purchased or obtained outside computers offer little to no advantages. Better graphics and quality do not offer much when it comes to school when the only thing you are ever on is google docs. Even a playing field that is already even is useless and a waste of time, when they could better the school in other ways and direct that attention somewhere else.