What Seahawks are saying: FCPS On


Photo Courtesy of Rei Linam

     Take your laptops out! Fairfax County Public Schools kicked off their new computer program FCPS On this school year. Every student has been given a 13’’ Dell laptop (Dell Latitude 3300 XCTO.) that is usable both inside and outside the classroom. This is helpful in giving all students an opportunity to use laptops at home if they couldn’t afford it before. However, the fact that everyone has their own laptop has increased the amount of technology based learning being done throughout the school day. Log on and log off. Comparison to past years in the classroom, everyone having access to laptops makes for a very different learning experience. It has many benefits, and specialists Mrs. Kramer and Mr. Dobbs have been doing an amazing job adjusting students to this new program by helping to fix any computer dysfunctions or bugs.

     Having a laptop helps get work done quickly and efficiently. It’s easier to turn in assignments, and get feedback on work. There are lots of online databases that are helpful in completing papers. Especially, in higher level Dual Enrollment courses, the laptops make it easier to access NOVA in class. Also, junior and senior year students can work on college essays and applications during SS, and it makes the process less stressful, having more time to write and edit in school. Many students, teachers, and staff  have different takes on how they feel about the new program. 

     Students have always complained about the school’s WIFI. The WIFI has always been hard to connect to on personal devices, so going from one location to the next may cause complications for some laptops. 

     “I think they should fix the WIFI, then go for the laptops, instead of going laptops then WIFI,” junior Zubaida explained.

     “I literally use my data at this point, it’s so garbage,” junior Mohamed added. 

     Most students try to connect to the WIFI on their phones for entertainment between awkward silence in classes–lets be real. However, during lessons, having a strong connection for WIFI is essential for research, using Google Classroom, Docs, Drive and Blackboard. Moving away from WIFI, the laptops are very helpful. 

     “I think it’ll be better because teachers won’t have to sign out computer carts and stuff like that, so it’ll be better functioning-wise because they won’t have to go, ‘Somebody go get this computer from this teacher, because they can just pull out their own,” Junior Corey Beale highlighted.  

     This is significant because in previous years, so much time has been wasted trying to find a laptop to use. The new laptops also make it easier for students to complete assignments in class. Having a laptop forces students to spend their time more wisely and get work done, whereas they used to be able to say, ‘I can’t do this my laptop is at home!’

     Teachers tell all. Students having access to the internet has led some teachers to believe that students have a better opportunity to cheat, and they are unsure about students’ responsibility. 

     “[Laptops] will give greater rise to students trying to copy information from other sources, whether that be the internet, or other students work, and then letting that be their own,” history teacher Mr. Wagner expressed.

     “Well I don’t know, but in my class I plan to have some pretty firm guidelines around that, so that they can’t just have their laptops out all the time if they don’t need them. So I don’t know. I mean, students already have a computer in their pocket all the time. So I think it’s just one of those things that we’re all learning to balance,” chemistry teacher Dr. Texdahl said.

     It is significantly harder to do internet-based learning on a phone because it’s much more of a distraction. Social media and texting can take a student’s mind easily away from the research they’re supposed to be doing. Having a laptop is a much better way to keep students focused in the classroom. However, there is controversy regarding whether or not freshmen should have laptops. 

     “To be honest, I feel like it’s a good idea, but [incoming] freshman? I feel like they shouldn’t get the laptops… they’re still learning responsibility and all that stuff,” junior Bryan said.

     Although it’s true that freshman don’t have as much high school experience as upperclassmen, many still do believe they deserve and need laptops because classrooms depend on technology based learning.

     Our fantastic Field Services team has been working for three years to streamline the process for hardware repairs and get ready for FCPS On. Overall, the laptops are a very exciting change to FCPS schools. They make a big difference in the way students experience classes and the way teachers teach their lessons. Thank you to our Field Services team for their constant hard work to implement this new program. 

Interviews and research conducted by Helen Ehrlich