LEDBETTER: Firewall reduces value of Chromebooks


Most students of Roseville High School have, or will have, a school Chromebook, and most students of Roseville High School know that these Chromebooks are extremely restricted on which sites they can visit. Now, I understand why we block sites like Netflix and game sites, as those can often be a distraction in class.

However, when I’m trying to do a research paper for class and most sites are blocked, it makes it very difficult to get sources. In my World Studies class, anytime I had to do research I would only be able to access around three websites with content that I need. Even links that we have on our Roseville High School website are blocked on my Chromebook.

I think that our teachers should be able to block and unblock certain websites. That way when learning about sensitive topics we are able to go online and learn more about the topic. As school has gone on, our school has been good about unblocking certain websites like Pandora and History.com.

Still we struggle with many important sites, including Sparknotes.

Sparknotes is a very useful and educationally relevant website, especially when struggling to understand literary content, and a helpful tool when writing essays because you can find quotes and page numbers.

Wikipedia is unblocked on our chromebooks and that is a website that many teachers tell students they should absolutely never use because it’s often incorrect facts. And yet we cannot access a reliable source which effectively summarizes the content we are learning.

The main purpose of school Chromebooks is to be able to access educational websites to better help our academic performance. With so many sites blocked, I would say the only time I actually use my school Chromebook is when I need to type up something.

One of my teachers would always assign the class assignments to watch a video on a link she provided and take notes. More than half these times the video was blocked the Chromebook.

I almost guarantee that my teacher was not the only one with that problem. Most websites that consist of articles with the words gun, shooting, and war are blocked, making history class very difficult.

I take photography and digital media classes, which would actually benefit from having access to more social media websites. Having Facebook, Instagram, and magazine websites unlocked would only benefit those types of courses.

When taking media classes the main way to find out what’s going on is through media websites. Even Google Images has so many photos blocked when the pictures are not actually bad, and oftentimes when I click on a photo that is there I can’t even be directed to the site it was posted on because it’s blocked.

And beyond that, it’s extremely inconvenient that students can’t sign out of their Google account on the Chromebooks.

For class, I have two student emails but I am only allowed to use one. When trying to work on something for my media class I am not able to because it won’t allow me to login in with that email.

We are still figuring out the system and I understand that. But at this point, can we look forward to unblocked websites in the future?