Along with all the usual excitement of a new school year, students at Stewart Elementary and Huston Middle Schools had an additional change to be excited about — new Chromebooks.
Students in grades 4 to 6 received the Chromebooks on the first day of the school year, and they’ve been using them in the classroom ever since.
“They were excited to learn that they would have a personal device to use daily,” said Ashlee Peters-Roberts, a sixth-grade social studies teacher and Certified Google Educator. “They were also nervous by the responsibility of caring for the device.”
So far, the program has been a great success. Teachers are implementing the Chromebooks into lesson content through Google Classroom, a free service that allows educators to create, distribute, and grade assignments in a virtual environment, cutting down on paper waste and keeping information streamlined.
The use of the Google platform also means that students have access to the full array of Google Apps, including Gmail, Docs (a word processor app), Sheets (a spreadsheet app), Slides (a presentation creation app), and Drive (a file storage app).
Students also get to experience a wide new variety of ways to learn. For example, some classrooms are using Web 2.0 tools so that students can engage in anonymous discussions. Other creative educational approaches include the use of probability experimental tools, creating virtual reality tours, creating and editing videos and songs, and creating learner’s profiles to set goals and analyze growth.
Overall, Peters-Roberts believes that giving every student a Chromebook goes a long way in creating technological equity, collaboration skills, and creating a connection to personal interests as extensions of learning.
Of course, these aren’t benefits that only younger students can realize, which is why the district plans on assigning Chromebooks to grades 7 and 8 in the 2020-2021 school year.