Chromebooks already impacting teachers

Chromebooks already impacting teachers

Lauren Grimaldi, News Editor

After a presentation by Assistant Principal Kristin Smetana and Technology Director Mike Connors to the school board this fall, the board has decided to begin bringing Google Chromebooks into the school.  This year, group of teachers have received the devices as a pilot with the idea that all students will get a Chromebook two years from now.

“I have used Google Docs for about two years,” said English teacher Tom Dignan, “so the biggest way Chromebooks have changed my teaching is that I now have access to those Google Docs whenever I need them as opposed to being tied down to a desktop.”

Chromebooks are laptops made by Google that are designed for easy use.  Many have already been implemented in schools around the world.

What IS a Chromebook?

Dignan is not alone in his use of Google Docs, as Applied Arts teacher Patty Sarkady too has found that the Chromebooks have made using said program that much easier.

“In regards to teaching computer classes, I redesigned the course with a little help from my department chair,” Sarkady said. “[It now includes] Google Docs so students now that take computer applications really understand Google Docs.”

Sarkady noted that Google Docs isn’t the only program that the Chromebooks have helped change.

“Everything is instantaneous now, whereas before when students had questions in regards to assignments [on Skyward] now I’m able to just open the Chromebook up and see it there, “ Sarkady said.  “I can take attendance also throughout the course of the period which is nice if I’m lecturing.”

Both Dignan and Sarkady have been able to implement programs into class that they had not been able to without the Chromebooks.

“ I’m trying the new Haiku LMS, which has been something I’d never used before I got the Chromebook,” Dignan said.

An LMS, or learning management system, is an application designed to help educators manage implement technology into their classrooms.  The pilot group of teachers are trying out both the Haiku and Schoology LMS’s.

“I just created a Pinterest assignment in my Consumer Economics class. In that class students learn the consumer rights that President Kennedy implemented in the 60’s,” Sarkady said. “So instead of doing just a normal presentation, I decided to use Pinterest. I was able to walk around with my Chromebook and look at everyone’s boards. They had to ‘pin’ anything that was associated with the project.”

All of this is sort of a prelude to what will happen in two years when every single student will come to school with a Chromebook in hand. In regards to that, Dignan and Sarkady are both certain that the change will be positive- and huge for students and RB in general.

“ I think the Chromebooks will greatly impact how students interact with each other and their teachers as the Chromebooks allow for web-based discussions outside of the classroom that weren’t possible before,” said Dignan.

“Well, if I were a student having a Chromebook, I would utilize it for notetaking and instant information,” Sarkady said.

Sarkady also knows that the introduction of technology instead the students daily lives will be huge for education.

“Because students are so inquistive, they could look up something that happened this morning that we need to know about,” Sarkady said. “I mean this is going to be amazing, it’s really going to change the makeup of a classroom. It’s going to make changes. We will, of course, be educators, but we’re going to be more facilitators in the classroom balancing the information and communication with each other.”