New Hope continues to increase the integration of technology in our classrooms through the expansion of our Google Chromebook program. Fifth grade students now have one-to-one access to a Chromebook during their Language Arts and Social Studies classes. Since the February roll-out, students have been able to use the Chromebooks in their language arts class to access the WPP online writing program with greater frequency. This application allows students to submit their work electronically and receive immediate feedback. The application offers suggestions to students as to how they might improve their writing. While the application can never replace an individualized writing conference with Mrs. Young, the immediate feedback provided by the WPP online application assists students in identifying weaknesses in their writing and provides students with an opportunity to refine their work in a more timely manner. (It takes awhile to read, provide feedback, and conference with students on 38 essays!)
Students are also utilizing the Chromebooks to access their Google Drive accounts. They are using Google Drive to create presentations and documents across the curriculum. The use of Google Drive allows teachers to more closely monitor student work in progress and to provide feedback before a final product is due. Students may utilize that feedback to refine and improve their work before turning in the assignment for a grade. Teachers can easily see who might be struggling with an assignment and thus are able to intervene and offer additional support to those students who may need assistance. Students recently worked collaboratively on their Operation Conservation projects using these school issued Google Drive accounts. Teachers from all disciplines worked together to monitor student progress on this cross-curricular problem-based project.
In Social Studies, Mr. Wilson’s students have recently utilized the Chromebooks to research significant contributors to the Harlem Renaissance. After researching their chosen figures, students crafted Headlines using this Visible Thinking Routine to identify and summarize the major contributions of these talented men and women to the period. Students then created magazine covers utilizing the Chromebooks to access the Big Huge Labs website and utilized the site’s Magazine Cover Generator to create an artifact to showcase their learning.
A 1:2 ratio of students to Chromebooks in the fifth grade math classroom allows Mr. Coulston to work with a smaller group during math rotations where he can further assist students who need additional help or offer enrichment to those who have mastered the math skill. While Mr. Coulston works with one group, other students are able to practice individualized math assignments with immediate feedback and support utilizing the Chromebooks to access their IXL accounts.
New Hope’s tech department, the administration, teachers and students have all been impressed with the easy implementation and rapid acclimation of students to the devices in both fifth and sixth grades. The rapid start-up makes them ideal for use in the classroom as there is little time wasted in waiting for the devices to boot up. Students have also shown great adaptability in rapidly making the transition from Microsoft Office to Google Drive / Docs. These positives are quite exciting as we look to continue to expand the use and integration of technology across all the curriculum.