Laptops slightly limited

Erich Vanblargan


With the current outbreak of Covid-19, many students have been forced to take to the internet to finish their schooling. For the students of the Stevens Point Public School District, this means a new dependence on technology that until now has been taken for granted.

Almost all students and teachers have access to online education through the laptops provided by the Sentry Foundation to the school district however not many people have taken the time to do a deep dive into the technology that they have been provided.

The standard laptop that is given to high school students is a simple Intel I-5 computer that can run any low capacity program or system. The laptops are perfect for their intended purpose and have seen students through their educational careers.

Their 2.4 gigahertz processor, 64-bit operating system and 8 gigabit random accessed memory do leave some restrictions on what students are able to accomplish. Some of the former and even current programs have an occasional hiccup when processing multiple pages or when running a larger program.

Examples of these programs are Google, Microsoft word and the old Sketch Up applications although these applications are not entirely to blame for their malfunctions.

Due to the school’s properly placed mistrust in its students with this technology, the ability to update both software and hardware is unavailable to students leaving many with outdated operating systems.

In many cases this may cause the computer to lag, stall, freeze or even crash potentially undoing hours of work that a student may have achieved. Likewise, the laptops given to the junior highs have similar problems due to their outdated systems.

The junior high students also face a problem that the senior high students do not. While the cases for the senior high students are removable that is not the case for the junior high which are wrapped around the edges and middle pivot of the laptops.

While this is good for helping to ensure the safety of the laptop it is also a burden on the computer’s cooling system. The fleece that insulates the laptop from bumps and dents but the fans that cool the computer cannot properly disperse the heat produced by the main processing unit. This heat buildup causes the computer’s internal software to expand and soften causing the unit to use additional power to properly transmit signals through its circuitry and creating stalls in its operation.

This problem only occurs with extensive periods of use between three to four hours. It can, however, happen repeatedly and over time will degrade the overall effectiveness of the system and its processors to the point where a frozen screen and computer crash are common occurrences in the unit.

So, while we rely on these marvelous pieces of technology it is important to give the unit time to cool down and maintain a safe temperature which is the only flaw that these computers or any computer really have.