Bigger and Better: Students Enjoying New Laptops

John Srouji

One thing senior Ford Powell won't miss about his old laptop? “There was always residue from that sticker on the back that I could never get rid of."

For the first time in years, Lovett has purchased brand new laptops for students. Seniors and Juniors recently received their new laptops, so I talked with a few of them to see what they were thinking about this new transition.

I spoke with senior Alan Pope who gave me some insight into how he was feeling about the new laptops. One thing Alan pointed out that he liked about the new laptops was that “the bigger screen can do a lot more.” The screen on the new MacBook Air is 1.7 inches bigger (diagonally) than the old one which is a very useful upgrade especially considering how much more time we’re going to be spending on our laptops because of hybrid learning.

Alan told me that he really wasn’t going to miss much about his old laptop because it had gotten really slow and loud. But he did tell me it was going to be a bit difficult adjusting to the new one because he had lost all of the bookmarks he originally had on his old laptop.

I also spoke with junior Allie Ohde. At the time of our interview, she had not yet gotten her new laptop. I asked Allie if she would miss anything about her current laptop and she quickly told me that she wouldn’t miss anything about it unless she happened to accidentally delete all of her files.

Allie told me about one of the most annoying parts about her old laptop: a slightly broken screen in the top right corner. As I interviewed more people about their old laptops, it seemed that almost every single person had a strange bothersome quirk about their laptop that they were going to be happy to get rid of, but maybe also miss a bit too.

For senior Ford Powell it was the fact that he could never get the sticker off from when the laptops were first given to us. “There was always residue from that sticker on the back that I could never get rid of,” he said to me.

For junior Alex Wallace, it was that her laptop would “randomly shut down and quit out.” The worst part of that for Alex was that it actually shut down during one of her AP exams. “I was taking my AP Exam and it shut down and I had to retake my AP exam.”

For junior Emma Volkman, she could never get this one pop-up on her screen to go away. “It says ‘Install this update,’ but it won’t go away and it won’t let me install the update, so it's just always there,” she said. Emma also told me that one time in eighth grade, people were taking the keys off of their laptops and she took one of hers off, but she lost it for many weeks and when she finally found it, she couldn’t get it back on.

I asked the seniors I interviewed about what they thought was the biggest improvement from the old laptops to the new ones. Ford told me that he thinks it’s the battery life. He said that “the battery life on the old ones was actually terrible,” and that it's been really nice to have a laptop that doesn’t die out multiple times a day. The new laptops really do have a much better battery life. The old ones would drain from 100% down to 0% in just an hour of being in a class and these new ones can last pretty much the whole school day if needed.

For the Juniors, who had not yet gotten their new laptops, I asked them what they were looking forward to most about the new ones. Allie told me that for her it was “definitely the battery life and the big screen. I was getting headaches from staring at such a small screen all day.”

Emma told me that for her it was the new Touch ID feature, that allows students to sign into their laptops using only their fingerprint if they would like. She was also looking forward to just having a faster laptop. The old ones had gotten to be extremely slow and for Emma she had had hers since sixth grade, so she was definitely excited to get a new one.

I spoke with the head of IT, Greg Hamrick, who told me all about the new laptops and what the biggest improvements were.

I asked Mr. Hamrick how they decide when to get new laptops and he said to me that “What we’ve been doing since 2007 is that we rotate the laptops every three years and get new ones.” He told me that the three years pattern has worked pretty well because usually laptops begin to slow down after three years and students and teachers can tell. Mr. Hamrick mentioned things like the battery life decaying and the screens getting messed up.

Mr. Hamrick let me know that because of COVID-19, this year has been especially difficult when it comes to distributing the new laptops. “COVID-19 has added time to everything, and we should have been much further along,” he said to me. 

Another challenge Mr. Hamrick mentioned was moving to a new operating system for the laptops. According to him, the new laptops run on a new operating system, which turned out to be incompatible with many of the programs students use regularly.

“So we’ve had to find ways to work around it,” he told me. 

Mr. Hamrick also told me about some of the coolest things students should be looking forward to about the new laptops. “They’re bigger and have more memory,” he said. “So many things have moved to the cloud, so there’s less that has to be stored on the laptops.” He told me that a helpful tool for IT and the administration would be their new login system, Connect, which will make it easier for students to login and for IT to keep track of logins. 

Lastly, I asked Mr. Hamrick about what will happen to our old laptops. “We have a company that comes and buys the machines from us,” he said. “They give us quotes and we give them the machines and they wipe them.” He told me that this process takes about 20-30 minutes for each laptop and for about 400 laptops, that ends up taking a lot of time.

The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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