Chromebooks: A Year in Review

One year into a transition from Macbooks to Chromebooks for students, Cardinal Nation asks how it’s going
Chromebooks: A Year in Review

This May, it will have been one year since the Class of 2026 was transitioned to Chromebooks, setting the new device standard for the upcoming classes. In acknowledgment of the occasion, Cardinal Nation reached out to Principal Crowe to hear about their success thus far.

Cardinal Nation: Have you seen an increase in benefits economically since the purchase of Chromebooks so far?

Jason Crowe, Mentor High Principal

Mr. Crowe: I spoke with our Director of Innovation and Instructional Technology, Mr. Lynch, and here is his response: “The answer is yes. Chromebooks cost approximately $500 less than a MacBook, so just in purchase price alone, we have saved significantly. We also continue to have a surplus of Chromebook screens, so there is a continued cost savings on Chromebook screen repair.”

Cardinal Nation: How have the Chromebooks been academically? Do you feel there is an increase or decrease in success, or is it similar to the MacBooks?

Mr. Crowe: With the vast majority of our educational program being web-based our transition to Chromebooks has been relatively seamless. The academic success of our students continues to be dependent on their hard work and ability to take responsibility for their education; it has never been about the device.

Cardinal Nation: Some of the art rooms now provide HP Laptops for the programs needed that are not available on the Chromebooks. Is this permanent, and have they proven to be as effective as MacBooks?

Mr. Crowe: We continue to work with our Technology and Curriculum Departments to ensure our students have the tools necessary to access the curriculum. We are in the process of adding a new Digital Media Career Academy to our Art Department that will bring iMacs into the classroom to allow our students to engage with the software needed to earn Adobe credentials (Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign).

Cardinal Nation: Originally the plan was for teachers to receive the class of 2026’s MacBooks. Has this been helpful for the teachers? How successful has the switch been?

Mr. Crowe: The switch has been very successful and is a credit to the Technology Department we have in the district.

Cardinal Nation: Is there a barrier between teachers and students because they have separate device types?

Mr. Crowe: No

Cardinal Nation: How would you describe the Chromebooks’ effectiveness as we reach the one-year mark in May? Are you still satisfied with the decision?

Mr. Crowe: Chromebooks, as they are currently used in our school, have been proven to be just as effective as the previous device, and combined with the financial savings we are very happy with the decision. 

The Art Department currently uses HP Laptops for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign.

In summary, Mr. Crowe and administration view Chromebooks as an excellent financial choice and have shown an equal amount of success in the classroom.

Cardinal Nation attempted to get some student feedback, and found that students do have some concerns

“They are worse this year,” sophomore Summer Compton tells Cardinal Nation. “I’m taking more advanced classes that require lots of studying but study tools provided such as Quizlet are extremely laggy and sometimes even crash the Chromebooks, making it extremely annoying and hard to use.”

“I would say the Chromebooks definitely aren’t adequate enough for some of the quick-paced classes students take,” says sophomore, Aishu Pandit. “My Chromebook often lags for minutes straight hindering my studying and working process.”

Looking on the bright side, there have been no setbacks relating to learning a new technology system because Chromebooks are web-based the same way MacBooks are. Students still use the same Google Drive they’ve had since their elementary days, and the functions are nearly identical despite a few small keyboard differences.

Besides these student complaints, the only other prevalent annoyance with the Chromebooks is that they cannot access some of the services the Art Department uses such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign. This has been remedied by the use of HP Laptops for those classes.

The Chromebooks are still taking some getting used to. Change is always difficult, especially as the guinea pigs of the transition. As each new year of ninth graders comes to the high school, the switch to Chromebooks will surely feel more natural.

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