Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Chromebooks in the classroom

Chromebook reform in the classroom

Last year was my first year with chromebooks for every student but for only one class.  I think it was a great way for me to start off small and try a few new things to see what worked without getting overwhelmed attempting to reform all of my classes at once.  This year, I should have chromebooks for all classes.  

I would like to share 5 of my favorite tools how we used them throughout the year:

1. Google Classroom

It is a lifesaver for staying organized with assignments, making copies of digital resources for students and sharing other resources quickly.  I love Classroom's ease of use and speed of posting and collecting assignments.  I no longer hand out any paper copies of assignments at all and my students complete all of their lab reports digitally.  No longer do I hear the comments -"I lost my lab Mrs. Cauthers, can I have another copy?" or "I forgot my lab at home."  There are a few small cons, such as turning in and grading group work.  It's not very seamless, but there are many ways around it, such as having students submitting a google form that has a shared link for their digital assignment for a project.  

2. Google Slides
     We used slides for almost anything in our class.  Here are just a few applications:

  • Hyperdocs - I like the slide by slide organization for portions of assignments to create interactive unit long assignments that have videos, notes, online resources, areas for reflection, creation and assessment.
  • Student projects - students can each submit a slide for a class presentation, allows for embedding video, images, and charts.  Easily organizes content. Can create image maps that are interactive too.
  • Q&A- interactive questions and answers during class discussions, polling during class and formative assessments
  • Digital plan book - I created all of my lesson plans for each unit in slides, embedding my videos, digital notes, and even links to the google classroom assignments
3. Screencastify

Students created tutorials, paperslides, and video reviews of many topics and were able to do this with screencastify and the chromebook web cam.  Our goal this year is to create a student video library for each topic.

4. Google Drawings

This is a great tool for students to create concept maps, interactive/hyperlinked images, and lab drawings.  The drawings can be embedded into a Google Slide show, web page, and so much more.  Students could even use slides and screencastify to animate their drawings.

5. YouTube

I know it is cliche, but teenagers use YouTube for almost anything.  Why not leverage it in the classroom?  I used YouTube as a resource where students would critically analyze a video they found, a library of video notes and explanations and lab setup explanations instead of repeating myself.  This coming year, I would like students to create their own YouTube channels to showcase their personal creations for class, such as video reviews on a topic, lab summaries, and more. 

I have so many ideas for this coming school year, but try no to overwhelm my students with too many resources all at once.  I like to see them get proficient with a few tools and find what works best for them along the way before we add more.  

I would love to hear any ideas that you would like to share for your personal favorites. 

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