Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

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vveat
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Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by vveat » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:09 pm

My daughter, a 5th grader, has had a Chromebook for a couple of years. It has served her well since they use the same at school, and she mostly needs internet and writes on google docs. We were pretty happy with this solution until recently.

The problem is that now she is taking online courses and is running into technical problems
- with one class she has to do webex with the teacher and Chromebook doesn't seem to allow screen sharing (the teacher confirmed it's a known issue)
- the other class has an online multi-student classroom with video, etc - and she was constantly plagued by tech issues, video freezing, loss of audio one way, etc - until she logged in from my husband's Toshiba and all worked well

Have any of you had similar issues with Chromebooks?

We may just have her use the home laptop for such classes for now, since it's just 3 hours a week - but if we decide to upgrade her, any recommendations for a basic laptop? (there was a recent post but all recommendations were for chromebooks)

rolandtorres
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by rolandtorres » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:27 pm

If you're attached to the Chromebook, you can install a remote desktop program like Google's own app RDP on the chromebook AND the Toshiba. You'd connect to your Toshiba from the Chromebook and fire up the classes on the Toshiba but watch them through the Chromebook viewer.

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... ihenigjmpp

Similarly, perhaps you've tried the official Webex chrome app and tried to chat on webex through that app:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/deta ... ghma?hl=en

If those don't work, probably better to go with a Windows machine for max compatibility.

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Alexa9
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:31 pm

Lenovo, HP, and Dell are top ranked. 7th Gen i3, 8GB RAM, and SSD minimum.

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Watty
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by Watty » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:35 pm

I am not a PC guru but last week I got a refurbished Dell from Office Depot that is the same as this one except it has a small solid state drive. They are now out of that model.

https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/ ... aptop-156/

I was impressed with how clean and new looking it is and so far it is working fine. It has the "pro" version of windows so there will be some minor differences from what you may see on your home computer.

nasrullah
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by nasrullah » Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:36 pm

If you haven't already, try the Android store for the software that you need. I've found that the native Chomebook application might not work properly, but the Android version does what you need.

The 13" Macbook Air is the best all around laptop I've ever found. Relatively inexpensive, ridiculous battery life, and rugged enough. You'll always find someone that will say to buy something else, that you need more CPU/RAM whatnot, but these boxes are fantastic.

I had a fully loaded 13" Pro and hated it, moved to the 12" Macbook just for something small to travel with. But... I gave my Wife and Mom the 13" Air. Zero problems, almost no support issues, etc...

And with Apple stores almost everywhere now, it's pretty easy to get help in person if you ever need it. Buy them Apple Care and you're good to go.
"We have a lot to do, and very little time, so we must work slowly." Liviu Ciulei | | Thanks vineviz (https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=134698) for the quote.

shess
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by shess » Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:02 am

vveat wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 7:09 pm
My daughter, a 5th grader, has had a Chromebook for a couple of years.
...
The problem is that now she is taking online courses and is running into technical problems
I took some classes at a local community college recently, and had similar issues. The problem I found wasn't that the Chromebook was so incapable, the problem was that they used a lot of systems which obviously haven't been updated in many years. For instance, there was this Wolfram "web" notebook thing which let you do interactive graphs and stuff for math classes, but ... I don't even know where to start. I couldn't even get it properly working on my desktop systems, and I'm a software engineer. I can see where they wanted to be in 2010, but they (Wolfram) obviously thought they were done and could just let it run without maintenance. I ended up just reading their xml files and figuring it out myself without the busted plugin. I hit this in a number of areas, where someone built something for 2008 or 2012 or whatever, relying heavily on Flash or some dubious installed binary, then shipped it, and moved on with their lives. Now nobody really owns it until something breaks.

Why do I mention this? Because unmaintained systems are insecure systems. I would be _very_ dubious about installing anything required by school on anything which gets to access our household network. Certainly best to make sure it's a dedicated device which isn't sharing any of your important data. Basically a burner laptop, I guess. That's why I'm really happy that our high school uses Chromebooks.

The Android suggestion is a good suggestion, but not all Chromebooks support Android. MacBooks _may_ work, but I've found it to be a mixed bag, for the same reasons as above (Apple is aggressive about moving things forward, so if someone built a plug-in-based system 8 years ago and moved on, it's probably broken by now). So for all that it pains me, given the unknowns I'd probably lean towards a cheap Windows machine.

You might want to ask around to parents of older kids in your school system, though. There's probably a lot of hard-won knowledge from their specific systems, and that trumps anything you hear in here!

bob60014
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by bob60014 » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:09 am

For a 5th grader to use for a online class she doesnt need the horsepower, imho. A basic windows laptop will do, unless the suggestions for fixing the chromebook work.

silvercertificate
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Re: Laptop for a middle school student (tech issues with Chromebook)

Post by silvercertificate » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:19 pm

Some will say it is overkill, but when my daughter needed a computer for middle school I bought her a used MacBook pro that had been used for 27 hours (you can check the time used like the mileage on a car) by an adult student who bought it to go back to college, but then dropped out. I found the computer after watching Craigslist for a few weeks and communicating with a few sellers. I paid a little more than 2x what a Chromebook costs, but it has worked flawlessly for almost 4 years now. My daughter is very responsible and this computer should last her many more years...she loves it! I consider it an investment... both the computer and in her.

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