As a part of the LTE (Learning Together Everywhere) program, all Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District high schools have received Chromebooks to facilitate online education; however, Wildcats are hesitant about the feasibility of the program.
Cy Woods students are finding Chromebooks inadequate due to limitations the district has placed on them.
“There are a lot of restrictions with websites,” said Junior Tanvi Khandekar. “So, there are a lot of frustrating things that can occur when you are trying to do research for projects.”
The district claims that such restrictions are necessary. According to their website, safety layers and content filters must be installed in order to comply with the Children Internet Protection Act. However, Wildcats believe that distinctions should be made between age groups.
“If you are talking about the kids in elementary school, you do not want them going on websites that have possible inappropriate ads,” said George. “But I think for kids who are older who need to research, I don’t think it’s the best idea because they need to have that certain access.”
One of the main reasons the district encouraged every high schooler to receive a Chromebook is because of the various apps compatible with the laptop. However, some students are noticing discrepancies in these claims.
“A lot of teachers use PDFs, rather than using Google Docs or Word files, which can become frustrating because those can not be viewed on the computer,” said Khandekar. “Then I have to use a separate device to view those files, which is counterintuitive because you would need two devices.”
The LTE program also aims to provide CFISD Connect students with live virtual instruction according to their website. However, Wi-Fi connectivity issues lead to a disrupted test-taking atmosphere.
“The Wi-Fi at our school is not the best quality,” said Senior Annie George. “So, I think it could be a problem if we need to take an exam or a test online.”
In addition to the Chromebooks, Wildcats cite technological difficulties on platforms that the district uses.
“There are times when ‘My CFISD’ is down,” said Khandekar. “There are times when school is down. Both of those times people don’t have access to be able to join zoom. They don’t have access to a lot of the documents that they need in class.”
However, students concede that the Chromebooks will likely be effective in a mandatory quarantine situation.
“It ensures that everyone has the means to be able to continue school so that a repeat of what happened last spring won’t happen,” said Khandekar.
Others Wildcats believe that the change was inevitable, with or without a pandemic.
“Our society is progressing in the way of technology,” said George. “So, even if this pandemic did not happen, I feel like laptops would have been integrated into our school system.”
Students are also aware of the sacrifices teachers have made in order to adapt to a virtual environment.
“I think sometimes we just have to take a step back and realize that our teachers are also going through a really hard time, and it is just as hard for them to adapt as it is for us,” said Khandekar.