Illustration by Sarah D'Souza, graphic courtesy of Creative Commons
In MCPS, it is common to walk inside a classroom and see an array of Google Chromebooks being used by students. After being introduced in 2011, Chromebooks make up half of the devices in U.S. classrooms and over 50 million students use Google’s Apps for Education today, according to May 13, 2017 article in the New York Times.
Chromebooks have become a necessity for students in many classes and in order to use them, they need wifi, which allows students to work in their classes. However, for months now the wifi has been slowing down Chromebooks and ultimately the progress of students’ schoolwork.
MCPS provided 40,000 Chromebooks to schools countywide in August 2014 and the amount of Chromebooks has been increasing each year, according to a 2014 article in the Washington Post. Teachers use Google to present lessons, collect and review tasks and grade student’s work. With so many Chromebooks in the county, that leaves many students staring at buffering screens rather than completing necessary work.
The county has added many access points and upgraded RHSa�� lines attempting to improve the wifi; however, when it goes down it affects the whole county, IT Systems Specialist Jennifer Lomax said.
“I would say the concern is a lot of times it is out of our hands and cannot be fixed locally which means longer down times for students,” Lomax said “The biggest concern is the impact on all of the testing that is done now on the Chromebooks.”
MCPS champions student achievement and success, but if they also want students to use technology daily in the classroom, they have to make sure they can deliver the means to use that technology. It cannot be expected of students and teachers to complete their work when the Chromebooks are not working correctly. It is time for MCPS to take responsibility for these issues and repair the wifi as soon as possible.