Learning Commons gets new Chromebooks

Matt Lanetti

Chromebook-Article-ImageTwenty newer model HP Chromebooks were added to the Learning Commons arsenal of student technology on Tuesday, March 10. According to Mrs. Diane Dougherty, Education Services Administrator, Malvern Prep purchased these laptops through a Pennsylvania Department of Education program, not directly through Malvern’s Technology Department.

The 20 new computers have replaced the 20 older Chromebooks, which were in poor condition, according to Dougherty.

“They don’t make the old models anymore. [The new models] are basically the same thing,” said Dougherty.

Mr. John Street, Assistant Director of Technology, said that the old Chromebooks are being repurposed around campus.

These devices were purchased through the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Acts 195/90/35. This program “provides for the loan of textbooks, instructional materials and equipment to Pennsylvania students enrolled in private/public schools,” according to the PA Department of Education’s website.

According to Dougherty, Malvern did not use all of this year’s Department of Education funds allotted to Malvern on textbooks. “If you don’t use the money, you lose the money,” she said.

Ms. Lorri Wallauer of the Business Office explained that the PA Department of Education distributes funds to schools based upon enrollment.

“We are allowed to use the money for items approved by the Department of Education,” said Wallauer.

Both the vendor and item itself need to be approved, and the items can not be single use items, according to Wallauer. For example, acts 195/90/35 would not fund the purchase of exhaustible art supplies but could potentially fund a new printer.

According to the PA Department of Education’s website, non-eligible items include religious or ideological materials of any kind, guns, exhaustible chemicals for science classes, decorations, computer software, and more.

The program does, however, qualify the purchase of computers, including those with preloaded software.

“From start to official approval or denial, the process takes 2 to 3 months,” said Wallauer. “The Department of Education makes the final decision.”

Although these new Chromebooks are almost identical to the previous models, there are some differences.

RJ Napoli ‘17 noted that the chargers are not interchangeable. Students will have to make sure to put them in their respective carts.

Napoli prefers the older models. “I was typing [on a newer model] and the “A” key fell off,” he said.

Other students, such as Ryan Antell ‘15, don’t seem to mind the change much. “I use them just the same. They are very similar to the old ones,” he said.

In regards to future school-supplied portable devices on campus, Street said, “At this time we don’t have that information. It is usually determined at end of the school year or the start of summer.”