Think Twice: Why Schools Shouldn’t Rush to a Chromebook Decision
K-12 educators and school administrators are on a never-ending quest to equip students with the tools to thrive in higher education and the working world – and it’s no small feat! Lesson plans are carefully crafted, teaching techniques are meticulously studied, and extracurricular activities are thoroughly organized. Amidst these efforts, one lever often goes unnoticed—the choice of laptops that students utilize day in and day out.
While Chromebooks have gained popularity in schools across the country, it's crucial to pause and consider if they truly prepare students for the Windows based systems that they will inevitably use in college and beyond. Every choice an educator makes aims to develop skills that align with the evolving demands of their careers. That's why I propose we take a closer look at a more suitable alternative.
Dependability Equals Productivity
Chromebooks are small and affordable, but they come with a significant drawback—they run on the Chrome operating system (OS). One reason this can be inhibiting is that they rely heavily on an internet connection to run productivity apps effectively. While it's true that the internet is almost omnipresent, we cannot always guarantee its availability. Another reason Chromebooks come up short is simply – most colleges use Windows based programs.
The Case for Windows Operating Systems
Windows OS offers a suite of productivity tools that work seamlessly offline. With Microsoft Office applications readily available, students can confidently create presentations, write essays, and crunch numbers without internet dependency. This empowers them to work efficiently, whether they're at home, at school, or at the park.
Furthermore, many colleges and universities favor Windows-based laptops for a reason. Aside from the “always online” requirements of Chromebooks, many colleges and universities frown on them for compatibility and support reasons. Many universities tell students specifically that Chromebooks are not supported or do not support test taking. There are tons of examples, but as a NJ resident I’ll use some local colleges:
- Rutgers University recommends the use of a Windows or MacOS device.
- The College of NJ states, “A general recommendation, regardless of major, is that having a Chromebook as your primary computer is not advised for students, as they do not have the necessary processing power to run certain programs that may be required in college courses.”
- Cornell asks students to avoid purchasing a “chrome book” laptop since they do not allow you to install software locally.
Colleges understand that by using Windows, students become familiar with the operating system that predominates the business world. Like learning a language, the more exposure students have to Windows, the more proficient they become. Interestingly, I recently spoke to a colleague whose daughter, a high school freshman, strongly resists using a Windows-based laptop. Since she’s been using a Chromebook since she learned addition and subtraction, she has no desire to explore other operating systems. It's important to consider that when she enters college, she will likely need to familiarize herself with Windows or Mac operating systems in addition to her classes.
Dynabook Laptops Come to the Rescue
One Windows-based laptop to consider should be Dynabook. Apart from the academic and career advantages of running on Windows, Dynabook laptops give Chromebooks a run for their money because they are lightweight and robust, designed to withstand the accidental spills, bumps, and other everyday mishaps of daily student life. They effortlessly slide into backpacks, ready to accompany students from the classroom to the library to the local cafe. Dynabook also has a line of affordable laptops to make it easier on school budgets.
While Chromebooks have their merits, it's crucial to consider the long-term implications of an educator’s technology choices. Dynabook laptops, with their Windows-powered capabilities, provide a comprehensive, offline-ready, and industry-aligned solution that empowers students to thrive both academically and professionally. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our Dynabook webpage.