Illinois bill would help schools repair their technology

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:24 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Schools utilize technology, like Chromebooks, to help your child learn. However, after a certain amount of time, Chromebooks expire or need repairs which forces districts to replace them.

Illinois Bill, HB 3601, looks to provide schools the information, tools, spare parts, software, and other means to extend the life of classroom devices.

The Quincy Public School District’s IT Director, Dan Ware said Chromebooks are cheaper to use and buy compared to other laptops. He said it’s also easier for both students, and teachers to use for learning purposes.

However after a certain amount of years, he said Google will no longer support certain Chromebook models which can cost $400 to replace, depending on the model.

“They, no longer provide software feature or security updates anymore. So a new version of the operating system comes out, this device will not get that update. So the device still works, but it won’t be getting security patches, it won’t be getting new features,” Ware said.

Ware said their Chromebooks will expire in 2030. He said while it’s possible to put new software on the Chromebooks, it can be tricky to find and would be more expensive than buying a new one. As for parts, it can also be tricky depending on the type. He said keyboards are the most common part they have to replace, which can range up to $15, depending on the condition of it. For other parts, it can vary on prices, and availability. But the bill could make it easier for them.

“The right to repair act would bolster that confidence that we can find the part that we need in the future. Because it would create more spare parts in the market,” Ware said.

Quincy Junior High Assistant Principal Andy Hoskins said the bill would be helpful, as Chromebooks have helped both teachers and students with learning.

He said aside from the software updates expiring, the consistent, physical use from students can also wear it down.

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