Part suppliers save laptops
Natalie Shaw, Editor in Chief
May 21, 2009
Filed under News
For months, laptops sat in the I/T room, waiting for parts to make them functional. Students snatched up the few available loaners to at least have something to work with after losing countless typed assignments as a result of multiple computer malfunctions. As time lapsed, the panic began to grow.
Gateway, the company behind the sophomores’ and juniors’ laptops, went under, causing students, teachers and parents to anxiously hold their breath. They all seemed to be wondering, “What will happen next?”
“That pretty thorough extended warranty doesn’t mean as much now,” said Principal Paul Barker. The days of sending computers back to the company for the biggest repairs are over.
Joseph Vitucci, Help Desk Coordinator, said, “We improvise whenever possible.” While Director of Technology Greg Russell searched for laptop part suppliers, Vitucci removed glass from broken LCD screens so that students could continue to use their computers.
The glass, the hinges connecting the screen to the keyboard and the battery housings tended to be the first parts to fail on the Gateway laptops. The freshmen’s Lenovo laptops, on the other hand, are “holding up much better than the other two,” said Tori Piergrossi, Help Desk Assistant.
As of now, the plan is to reissue the same model next year. Vitucci said, “If it’s working, why not?”
As for the remaining Gateways, Barker is confident that the necessary parts will come through. “They are no good as paperweights,” he said. “They will find their way to people like us who have Gateways and need to keep them going.”
At least one positive has emerged from this chaos. Barker, Piergrossi and Vitucci are all pleased that students are being more cautious with their personal computers. “They have learned that it is a real hassle to be without [their laptops],” said Barker. “The list of repairs is a whole lot shorter now.”
Regardless of what has happened with Gateway, the laptop program will continue for future classes. “Our goal ought to be to go paperless,” said Barker. “Critics say [the computer] is a distraction…but you have to think hard about how it’s being used.”
He pointed out the “collaborative advantages” as well as the opportunities for publishing and organization. Barker marveled at the ways teachers have discovered to use the computers in their classrooms.
Sophomore David Scharfe is just one of the hundreds of students who depend on their laptops for class now that the teachers have grown accustomed to teaching with them. “When I don’t have my laptop, my grades go down,” he said.
Junior Morgan Salkowski had a similar problem as her laptop which was being repaired for over four months. “I hate them. They’re ridiculous,” she said. “My loaner was in worse shape than my laptop.”
Some students may feel this way, but Barker said, “We’re only beginning to understand the potential [of this program].”