Why did they change our Chromebooks? (2022 Update)

*This article was written in October 2021

Why did they change our Chromebooks?

As you may know, the Durham District School Board (DDSB) decided to switch our Chromebooks in late September 2021. The ones that we received in grade 7 were the 300e 2nd Gen Chromebooks which were exchanged with the 100e 2nd Gen Chromebooks. At first glance, the current Chromebooks look like the downgraded version of the original one, and that for the most part, is true. The 300e 2nd Gen (previous Chromebook) had 1 USB port, 1 HDMI port, 1 USB-charging port, and more importantly, it had a touchscreen. It was the most modern and high-end Chromebook you could get by Lenovo. Coming to the current Chromebooks, they have no HDMI port, surprisingly, 2 USB-C charging ports, but unfortunately no touchscreen display. In addition, while the original Chromebooks could last for a whopping 10 hours straight, the current Chromebooks only have 6.5 h of screen on time. But that’s not all, it doesn’t take a tech genius to see that the screen is of far worse quality than that of our last Chromebooks.

Why did they do it?

In the end, we know we’re probably never going to get our Chromebooks back, but at the very least, every student should know why the DDSB took this step. With all the information shared with the students after this event, it is safe to say that the biggest reason they did this was money. And this fact isn’t something that we can complain about either. We all knew that the Chromebooks were on a limited budget from the beginning. After all, in the beginning, the DDSB made all Chromebook repairs free, but over time they realized that it wasn’t cost-effective as students kept breaking their devices. They then added a repair fee for everything except software issues. After thinking about it now, all evidence pointed towards our impending downgrade.

Regardless of the warnings, students kept breaking their devices and continued taking advantage of the DDSB’s generosity. With that being said though, not every student was irresponsible, so not every student should be penalized because of this, even if our Chromebook’s life span was coming to an end.
On top of all this, the details regarding this event were far too vague. All we heard from the teachers was that our Chromebooks were going to be “refreshed”. The word “refreshed” was left to interpretation, as our own teachers did not have any details on what was actually about to unfold. Last but not least, for all the students who were concerned, we thought it was going to be something like a software update, not a complete device change.
In the end, all we wish is that if this ever happens again, it should be done in a more organized manner.

2022 Update

Thankfully the Chromebook refresh in 2022 was more organized than in 2021 and the word “refreshed” was no longer left to interpretation.