Media specialist outlines return process for school laptops


Katie Whaley

With the end of the year nearing, media center specialist Dennis Murphy said students need to prepare for turning in their laptops. Students will turn their laptops into the media center on their last day of school, Murphy said.
Seniors will return laptops May 11 while the rest of the school will wait to turn theirs in May 22.
For the returning process, students only need to bring their laptops and charging cords. Though at the beginning of the year the plan was for students to bring their items back in the cardboard boxes the laptops came in, Murphy said the media specialists realized that plan was unrealistic and changed their return policy.
Murphy expects every student will turn in their laptops without problem, however, knows the process will be hectic with so many students and laptops to handle, especially if many students put stickers on their laptops.
“The hardest part of all of this is if you put a bunch of stickers on your laptop. They will have to be taken off and [and the laptop will need to be] cleaned,” Murphy said. “If you do all that before you turn it in you’re in good shape. If you walk in here and you have stickers on [you’re laptop], we’re going to direct you to a table that has cleaner and say ‘go clean all the stickers off and then come back through the line.’”
When students give their laptops to the media specialists, they will do a quick check to make sure there is no substantial physical damage. If there are impairments, students will not have to pay for it as long as it is their first time breaking one. If it is not their first broken laptop, they will have to pay a fee. Additionally, if students lost or broke their charger, they will have to pay $20, no matter if they haven’t broken one in the past.
For next year, the media center does not plan to give students the same laptop back, instead, students will get a new laptop and charging cord at random. Murphy said this method was the easiest and made the most sense.
“[Redistributing laptops randomly] was our choice. Hickman and Battle are doing it differently; they’re collecting [laptops] and making sure that everyone gets the same one back. We’re not doing it that way,” Murphy said. “We’re going to collect the laptops because, essentially, they’re all exactly the same anyway. After we collect them, sometime during the summer, they’ll be imaged.”
Imaging, Murphy said, is a technological process that clears laptop data and since every laptop is receiving it, every laptop will be technologically the same as of next year.
“Essentially, all the information is wiped off of the computer completely and then it is reimaged with a new image for next year. [That] puts everything back on that you had [at the beginning of the year] the normal stuff back on. So if you had saved documents to it or whatever all of that’s wiped clean, its gone, not to return. Then, they put everything new back on, all the apps and things that you need,” Murphy said. “It also updates it to everything for the network and so forth and so on. So for us we felt that it was just as good, basically, to, cause the images on the laptops will make everything basically the same thing no matter what.”
Junior Malik Ibdah thinks the process RBHS is using is too much of a hassle compared to Battle High School (BHS) and Hickman High School (HHS). Ibdah believes it would be better for students to have the same laptops back next year, as that way they could stay more organized.
“I feel like it would be easier if we got our same laptops [back next year] with the same stuff on it that we’re used to. I feel like that would be a lot less of a hassle [than having to] reorganize our own computers and get it to the way we like it again,” Ibdah said. “I feel like it’s unfair that Hickman and Battle are both [keeping the same laptops] and have that chance to stay more organized and have a chance to have less confusion and we don’t. I feel it would be a lot easier to give everybody the same laptops back, so you can pick up where you left off.”
Similarly, sophomore Nathan Schneider sees the random distribution as a problem, but appreciates the fact that they’ll still be able to have laptops in the future, as they’ve been helpful in his classes.
“The day we all got laptops, I was very excited to finally get a piece of technology from school. [Columbia Public Schools] had given iPads to fifth graders, but neglected middle and high schoolers almost entirely,” Schneider said. “I don’t think that that is a very good idea [tp not give students the same laptops next year]. Any small customizations or anything saved on your desktop will be deleted.”
Murphy thinks the return process will go smoother as long as people take off stickers at home or before coming into the media center. Though he would’ve preferred spacing the process out between different days or hours, he knew that wasn’t possible with final exams.
“That’s one of the things we’ve been struggling with because a lot of people are giving online finals of some kind or you need your laptop, so, basically, we know you’re going to need them until the last day of school,” Murphy said. “At the end of school on their last day, that’s when seniors need to turn [their laptops] in. That’s going to be a busy day.”
What did you think of having a laptop all year? Will you miss it during the summer?