For the past few weeks, Mr. Jamerson’s fourth grade class has been piloting a test of a one-to-one laptop environment using 10 Lenovo laptops (Mr. Jamerson’s eleventh student is utilizing Mr. J’s laptop in order to complete the study). Mrs. Carter, the technology integration specialist at New Hope, is working closely with Mr. Jamerson to learn exactly how the availability of personally assigned student devices throughout the entire learning day affects teaching, learning, and discipleship in a fourth grade classroom. Results of the pilot will be utilized to determine future purchases and technology integration in fourth grade. In addition, the study will compare the usefullness of the full power Lenovo laptops with the one-to-one test of Google’s Chromebook devices in the sixth grade and an upcoming study of Chromebooks in the fifth grade.
This last week proved that fourth graders are indeed capable of utilizing the devices responsibly and effectively. Students have made every effort to be good stewards of what the Lord has provided for us by treating the devices with care. The devices have been utilized in reading, writing, and math to enrich instruction, develop student thinking and ideas, and provide a platform for immediate assessment of student learning and teacher feedback.
As part of the trial, students have been assigned log-ins to utilize Google Docs, a free cloud-based productivity suite that allows students to access their work from any computer with an Internet connection. New Hope utilizes Google Docs for Education providing a safe closed environment for our students to work with each other on the web. Students are able to share their files with classmates and instructors making collaborative work and teacher feedback an integral part of the learning process. With the introduction to Google Docs, New Hope also emphasized behavioral expectations for work conducted in online environments. All interactions and work done in any of New Hope’s online learning environments are closely monitored by instructors and administration and students not complying with New Hope’s expected standards of behavior may be subject to consequences that could include the removal of technology privileges and suspension.
For their first assignment utilizing the devices and their new Google Docs accounts, students created documents from a character in their current class novel’s point of view. Students shared their writing with a partner for peer editing and collaborative feedback. They also shared the documents with Mr. Jamerson and Mrs. Carter for instructional feedback and assessment of learning. Students were then able to make changes and improve their work before the final due date for the assignment.
We are extremely excited about the possibilities of utilizing either laptops or Chromebooks in our middle year classes. Thus far, the trial has shown that fourth graders are capable producing quality work through the use of integrated technology in core curricular classes. We will be posting updates frequently on our Tech Talk blog throughout both the Chromebook and Laptop studies. Stay tuned as New Hope continues to grow our technology integration program.