Say it Ain’t So!

Have you seen this report from GoGuardian that shows how Chromebooks are being used in classrooms?  I stumbled upon it when I saw this post on Twitter by Andy Losik and this one by Alice Keeler. Not only did the articles hit upon a lot of important key ideas in regards to using Chromebooks in the classroom, but so did the comments.

Previously, I wrote a post about Creating Creators, Rather than Just Consumers, and both of these articles touch on that as well.  Many of the websites that are listed in the GoGuaridan study are places to access information or practice skills, both of which are important for learning. However, when looking at the list, what is missing, are the websites that students should be going to after they have gained their knowledge to create something that helps show what they have learned. Alice Keeler provides some very useful tools that can be used on Chromebooks. The one that is missing, is my new favorite-Book Creator. I feel it can cross over all content areas (and grade levels) and has so many possible classroom uses.  I hope more people realize that it is now available via the web, which means we can use it on Chromebooks.

I have been paying close attention to all things Chromebooks since my district is in the process of deploying Chromebook carts to our middle and high schools.  As I spend time in the buildings, I am often asked by teachers when we will be going 1:1 with devices in the middle and high schools (currently, our 3rd and 4th-grade students are 1:1 with iPads).  My immediate response is: WHY? To which I often get odd looks.  I ask this because in most cases, I don’t really think people know what they are asking for and/or what it involves.   Why do they think their students should have a device with them all the time? What are they going to have the students use the devices for? How are they going to change the way they present the content to their students to effectively incorporate technology into their classroom? Sometimes, they tell me they want a paperless classroom, and inside my mind, I shake my head.  Paper isn’t always a bad thing…students should still have those tactile experiences.  Having a ‘paperless’ classroom sounds great, but if all you are doing is replacing the same old lessons with a computer, you aren’t doing your students any justice.

Before a 1:1 initiative should get rolled out, we need to be sure that we have provided our teachers with training so that they can best use the technology with their students.  The pushback I get from teachers (which I don’t disagree with) is that if we give them the training now, and they don’t have adequate, regular access to devices, then they will forget what they have learned.  So timing is everything. I am looking forward to this journey, and can’t wait to see where it takes us!

Anyone have any suggestions for using Chromebooks in the classroom? Or rolling out devices in a district?