NO MO’ LENOVO

PHS' 3-year lease with the Lenovo laptops is finished at the end of the year.

Junior+Payton+Asher+works+on+an+assignment+on+her+Lenovo+laptop.

Abby Landwehr

Junior Payton Asher works on an assignment on her Lenovo laptop.

It’s time to say goodbye to the Lenovos.

Powell High School’s 3-year lease with Lenovo laptops will be finished at the end of the 2019-20 school year. This means PHS students will receive new devices at the beginning of next year. 

The official announcement about which type of device has yet to be announced to the district. PHS Principal Mr. Tim Wormald said the school will need to make a recommendation about the devices to the School Board and superintendent around the end of February. 

While The Prowl sought comment from several PHS Tech Committee members, as well as the school district technology department, none would offer specifics on device selection. However, Mr. Wormald did share a few thoughts.

“We’re looking into the possibility of going toward a Google-based platform, like a Chromebook,” Mr. Wormald said. “We’re not sure at our level if that’s going to meet the needs of our students and staff.”

The appeal of Google Chromebooks is their low cost and how easily replaceable they are. There are some cons to the devices though too. They’re only able to run apps through the Chrome browser. Because of this many programs that elective classes use are unable to be operated on these devices. For example, software such as Visual Studio used in Computer Science and AutoCAD used in CAD are unable to run on Chromebooks. 

Mr. Wormald said in that case, alternate devices may be provided to students who require outside school hours to work on projects.

“If we have a lot of programs we’re currently running that we wouldn’t be able to run then we’ll probably stick with a PC format,” Mr. Wormald said. “But if it’s specific to a few classes… then we might be able to purchase a couple of carts of PC based devices that students could check out for a short period of time to work on an assignment.”

Powell Middle School is currently providing Google Chromebooks as the personal devices for each student. This is Powell Middle School’s second year using this technology. Before Chromebooks, students were provided with Dell laptops during the 2017-2018 school year. James Dees, an eighth-grader at Powell Middle School said he has not enjoyed his experience with the Chromebooks.  

“Almost everything is restricted and compared to [previous] sixth grade laptops they just flat out suck,” Dees said. “They work for Canvas and stuff, but our other ones had so many more capabilities such as touch screens, larger screens and keyboards.”

Dees also said that he felt that he wasn’t the only one who had felt like this.  

“I’ve heard many of my peers say the same thing,” Dees said. “So I’m speaking for my whole class here when I say we need better laptops.”

Eighth-grader Taylie Sessions agreed. 

“They’re really slow and just not as good quality as other [devices],” Sessions said. “Basically everyone in the eighth grade you’ll talk to will say they don’t like them.”

Grace Coombs, a PHS freshman, had used Chromebooks at the middle school during the 2018-19 school year. Coombs said the devices weren’t horrible, just frustrating. 

“Chromebooks aren’t bad devices. They hold charge well and are portable,” Coombs said. “The thing that frustrates me most is having to use Word and PowerPoint online, and online limits some very useful features on them.”

Coombs said she’s enjoyed the Lenovo laptops more. 

“They are more convenient and easier to navigate,” Coombs said. 

Curious about how the students at PHS felt at the receiving new technology, this reporter put a poll on their Instagram story. 83% of the students voted that they were looking forward to receiving new tech, the other 17% voted that they enjoyed using the Lenovos. What then, were students wanting in this new tech? They had a few suggestions. 

“I would like devices that are easily portable, but still have the functionality of a regular PC laptop,” Coombs said. “It also would be nice if they were touch screen”

“Definitely something with a larger keyboard, and either a less bulky case or none at all,” junior Bailey Phillips said. “And, of course, a more reliable battery life.”

“In my opinion, [I’d prefer] something that will support better programs such as Microsoft Word and PowerPoint compared to Google Docs and Google Slides,” Dees said. 

Dees said that he was excited about coming to the high school and getting new tech next year.

“I don’t know what kind of restrictions the high school has on them, but I don’t think it can be worse than what we have now,” Dees said. 

“I think we want to continue with being able to provide mobile devices to students,” Mr. Wormald said. “We’re having to make the decisions between what we can afford and what is going to best meet the needs of our students and staff.”