Should students be provided with laptops?

Freshman+Anna+Yates+works+on+a+Chromebook

Freshman Anna Yates works on a Chromebook

Ashlea McIntire, Staff Reporter

There are many schools throughout the nation that allow students and teachers to go ‘paperless’ in the classroom and instead use Chromebooks or laptops to complete their classwork and homework. Not only is having a computer to work on more convenient for many busy students, it is also environmentally friendly because we are not using as much paper.

I think that having a laptop or a computer to use throughout the day and one we can take home with us would help tremendously with keeping a handle on all of the assignments high school students have to juggle.  

When students are using a computer to write, it is easier to use copy-and-paste to plagiarize another person’s work. No matter how trustworthy a student is, the temptation is always there; colleges are extremely strict when it comes to plagiarism and any amount can fail a student or much worse. As a result many high schools are trying to explain to students the danger that could happen when you copy someone else’s work and how to correctly cite what you might use in your paper. Giving students laptops might create the temptation, but it also gives the student the opportunity to prove how trustworthy they are in the face of that allurement. Plus, it allows students to get used to the fact that in college, they are going to be expected to research their papers and write using that information without plagiarizing. In college the professors are not going to be constantly reminding us not to plagiarize, they are going to expect us to know that and be able to do it without constant reminders and hand-holding.

An additional concern that students have about carrying a laptop is simply the added weight in their backpacks. While the laptop might add a couple extra pounds to the already back-breaking load that many high school students carry around, the laptop will eliminate the need for textbooks, as students will be able to access the online textbooks at any time. Most teachers, at least in Aledo ISD, also utilize Google Classroom which allows them to assign things online where students can work on it online or print it off, if that works better for the individual student. If students only print off what they need or want then that cuts down on the waste and annoyance that teachers have when they print off announcements for all students, then end up picking it up off the floor all as soon as class lets out. Using a website like Google Classroom, teachers can post the announcements where students can go to see it whenever they want  instead of having to repeatedly ask the teachers.

Responsibility. We, as students, are always being told we are very irresponsible and need to learn to change that. What better way to force us to become responsible than to give us our own laptop? Some schools give students ownership of the laptop to check it out then return it at the end of the school year. Students can take it home during breaks and after school, the teachers don’t charge them for students overnight, it is the student’s responsibility to make sure that their laptop is charged at all times and face the consequences if it dies throughout the day. Since the laptop is the student’s responsibility, if it breaks or cracks the student will have to pay to replace if it cannot be repaired.

According to npr.org, “It [letting students take home school-issued-laptops] gives students ownership of the device, and they take better care of the device if they have ownership,” said Greater Clark County Schools Technology Director Brett Clark.

While there are many issues for laptops in the classroom, there are just as many simple solutions to all the issues.

Some people are worried what students will do in the digital world without supervision, but the bigger issue might be what those students will do if they are never taught how to behave in that world.

I think giving students laptops to carry around in high school would benefit students in various ways.