Chromebook Expiration Leaves Schools to Cope with E-Waste
Friday, July 7, 2023
Education advocates say pending expiration dates for Google Chromebooks teach kids the wrong lesson about technology.
Software on thirteen models of Chromebooks will expire within the next three months and will no longer update, essentially rendering the devices useless for schools and students.
Lucas Gutterman, director of the Designed to Last Campaign at the Public Interest Research Group, said advocates are asking Google to extend those expiration dates to ensure schools can maintain access to important websites and students can keep learning.
"For folks that are trying to use their laptops over the summer," said Gutterman, "that expiration date could pass and it is possible that then those expired machines might not be able to access the resources that students need."
Gutterman said the company has extended software expiration dates for several models in the past.
A report found U.S. public schools could save nearly $2 billion if Google were to simply double the life of the devices, assuming no additional maintenance costs.
Chromebooks are not built to last and contribute to the nearly seven million tons of e-waste Americans generate each year.
By extending the life of Chromebooks, Gutterman said Google has the power to lead the industry by example while helping educators teach an important environmental lesson.
"They want students to have a sustainable relationship with the tech that's used in the classroom," said Gutterman, "and learn digital literacy while understanding that we should really be taking care of our devices and using them for as long as possible."
Only one third of e-waste in the U.S. is properly recycled. Gutterman said students see expired Chromebooks in schools headed for the trash and understand that's not the right way to treat expensive technology.
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