Blocking Everything


Paige Schneider, Staff Reporter

A lot of students returned from Christmas break to find that practically everything had been blocked on their Chromebooks, and not many of them are happy. There had already been a mass amount of things blocked before the break, so when we showed up to find that all of the extensions were blocked it sent the student body into an uproar. Tammy Mcelwee says, “It really makes it difficult to use the sites you need for class. You’re not able to find what you need because they literally blocked anything that moves!” She says there have been multiple times when students had great difficulty completing their online assignments because things necessary to finish them were blocked. One of those occurrences was in Mr. Solomons class where the students had to do research on a character, though when they tried to do so many found their searches blocked. “It just hinders learning abilities.” Some students believe that the school has taken blocking to the extreme.
A lot of high schoolers have been affected by the banning of all extensions that were once available on the Chromebooks. Google docs offline have been disabled since before the break, which is one of the bigger problems. Students without wifi at home aren’t able to complete their assignments with the extension disabled, and when teachers only want assignments emailed to them, it leaves students with a big problem. Another extension, Grammarly, a grammar checking extension, is used widely among the high school. It improves writing in emails and assignments as well as other things. I personally rely pretty heavily on it to double check my papers and my articles before I submit them. Big Ideas Math, which had been blocked at one point in time, obviously has a problem. Some teachers require that math assignments be turned in online, and when the students can’t even access the platform, how are they going to complete their work? These are just a few of the tools that students have recently lost.
Is it really worth it to sacrifice a few useful learning tools to finally boot games? Because of how much is blocked on the Chromebook, sometimes students would have to turn to their alternate browsers in order to complete work for class because the material had been blocked by the administration on google chrome. Now that those alternative browsers are gone, it’s not just all of the games and shopping sprees that took place in the class that has been affected, it’s also our ability to learn. From my viewpoint, if everything was a little more open we wouldn’t have to turn to things were not supposed to have to complete the work given to us. Perhaps giving the students a little more freedom would help the issue more than is believed.
Overall, this is a hard problem to solve. Haparra, a Chromebook monitoring sight, has been put back into use so teachers know what their students are doing. This still isn’t a complete solution. Mrs.Knight, the dean of students, says, “We brought back the Haparra system so teachers are able to monitor what students are doing on their Chromebooks, but however, as administration, we don’t necessarily just want teachers sitting at the back of the room at their desks monitoring Chromebook usage instead of at the front of the classroom engaging with their students.” Ms. Dillinger says she wished the school could trust students with unblocked Chromebooks, but until the students prove themselves capable of handling that, then its just not possible. “Technology changes a lot – it’s hard to have a perfect solution when the problem or the subject of the problem changes all of the time.”