Can a Cow Stand on Your Chromebook?

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Sure our marketing for the Dell 5190 Chromebook says it “survives school days and school kids,” but that’s just marketing, right? What if your students are just as likely to be in a metal shop or barn as they are a classroom?

a girl leads a cow toward a Dell Chromebook lying on the ground

“I have tested the durability on some other Chromebooks and laptops but typically they don’t last past the first few drops,” said Joshua Shearer, director of technology at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High Schools. “This was the first time I was able to let my creativity and ideas of how they are actually used in the classroom grow.”

What he’s referring to is the video below where he took on our Account Manager Tim Baker’s challenge to try a Dell Chromebook 5190 2-in-1 and “run it through its paces.”

“I was more than excited to test out the new Education Dell 5190’s, in fact, I think I told him we weren’t considering the 2-in-1 tablet models because it’s just one more thing that breaks,” said Shearer. “After my testing, it was hard not to revisit the idea.”

Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School is the oldest agricultural school in the country and the first vocational school in Massachusetts, opening for students in 1908. Students spend alternating weeks in shop and academic programs as they prepare for both a high school diploma and a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency.

So those paces might be a bit different from your average high school.

“With durability being one of the biggest differentiators between our Chromebook and every competitor, it is not unusual for us to encourage potential customers to put it to the test of their everyday life,” Baker said. But he added, “in my three years in this role I have never seen anyone put one through this rigorous of a test.”

From dropping it off a ladder to putting it in a freezer, Shearer progressed to more unique challenges involving tractors, sawdust, metal shavings and cows.

A Dell Chromebook sits in the metal shop of Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School

“Our students work in the thick of it and carry their devices throughout the school so to have a device with them in the field or in this case, the barn, is not unheard of,” Shearer said. “It was quite surprising once the 1,500-pound cow stepped on it that it didn’t cause more damage. The only damage it took while lying on the barn floor was adding a unique smell.”

Animal science is just one of the many careers for which Smith students might be preparing. And whether they’re studying carpentry, collision repair, culinary arts, horticulture/forestry, plumbing or other vocations, technology plays a role.

“We are constantly expanding the scope that technology holds in our school to better help our students learn and prepare for their future,” said Shearer. “Their path might end up taking them directly to a full-time job or bring them into college.”

Like most other high schools, Smith does have athletic programs, too, and when Shearer explained to their Athletic Director Jeff Lareau what he was doing, Lareau got excited.

“In fact, I think his exact words were ‘Let me see that thing, I bet I can break it!’ After two throws … he couldn’t,” said Shearer. “He’s still shocked he didn’t do any damage (I am as well).”

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