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Science & Technology

Chromebook or Chromeblocked?

Photo Courtesy PCWorld.

Whether loved or hated, Chromebooks cannot be denied as useful tools. Still, many students are left wondering about what they can or cannot do on the devices, as their extent of freedom is obviously limited. With great power comes great responsibility, and unfortunately for students, not everyone maintains that responsibility.

Regrettably, the actions of the few justify the restrictions of the many. Though one student may not use Chromebooks maliciously, another may abuse the devices. While Chromebooks are not exactly high-tech, the accessibility they bring has opened new doors in classes all over CHS, giving every student equal footing in participating in this ever-growing society of technology. The experience is not unfamiliar: nearly all students have run into a restricted website while browsing the internet, often times for a research paper or class activity. Even teachers run into blocked websites; however, English teachers are split on whether SparkNotes or CliffsNotes should be blocked or not and when.

Meghan Johnson, the District’s technology teacher on special assignment (TOSA) shed some light on why students habitually run into restricted domains that most would deem to be safe and useful, and it all has to do with the school’s new security program. “GoGuardian categorizes websites and then the school selects categories to block,” she says. “Other than that, teachers have control over what is restricted.”

If students wish to obtain access to certain websites, their first step should be to approach their teacher and ask them about any domains they may have restricted. Teachers now have the ability to block certain websites for varying lengths of time, but GoGuardian is still new to teachers, so they may not be able to answer every student question. If this is the case, the next person to approach is Meghan Johnson at meghan.johnson@camas.wednet.edu to ask for support.

Assistance is not limited to just websites. For Chromebooks specifically, the Chrome Web Store is a valuable resource with a plethora of extensions and apps to aid students. Grammarly is a fantastic extension that monitors what students type and helps ensure they send grammatically correct text for whatever they may need. For students who really need something approved, the tech department “encourages students to contact them,” and “looks forward to what students may bring to gain better use of the Chromebooks.”

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