"It's the future, better to embrace than not."
Lucy, Year 12 Canberra College Student
During Term 1 2018, all Year 7-11 students in ACT Public Schools will receive a Chromebook to use at school and home to support their learning.
Canberra College has been utilising Chromebooks for a number of years now and incorporating them within many subject areas. Whilst visiting the College earlier this term, I was fortunate to visit a variety of classes who were using devices in their classrooms (both their own devices or Chromebooks borrowed from the school) as well as see students in common areas with their devices. Wandering around the College, I saw many open spaces available for students to meet and possibly use their devices too.
Year 11 legal studies student Emily said she uses a device in most classes to do research, type up and submit assignments and "somehow it automatically goes to the teachers."
Wilbur who is also a Year 11 legal studies student said he likes to have his own device "it is more efficient, I have access all of the time and there is less clutter in my bag" due to less books in his bag. Wilbur uses his device in the following ways: creating Google Docs, Gmail to talk to teachers, Drive to keep up with assessments and Slides for presenting. His final comments were that he "Prefers his own device to personalise and it makes school not-frustrating!"
Roslyn Woods is the school's Librarian. There are currently 36 Chromebooks available for students to borrow and often students will rely on using the library Chromebooks rather than bringing their own. The libray Chromebooks are well used and students are only allowed to use the Chromebooks within the library. They have had no damage to any of their Chromebooks!
Whilst in the library, English teacher Jaswinder Kaur brought her students in to do some research. She likes to interact with her students using the comments feature in Google Docs. Jaswinder showed true enthusiasm for Google Classroom commenting "I love it!" She either invites students or gives them the code to join the Classroom. Their English Google Classroom page is used by both the students and the teachers to post to the class. Reminders and assessments are all shared in the Classroom too.
I caught Lucy and Liam, Year 12 students, who were working together in the library. Lucy brings her own MacBook to College and Liam has a laptop but didn't have it as it was not charged. Lucy mentioned she enjoys writing so she has 1 book but likes that she does not need to carry so much. Lucy uses her MacBook in all classes other than Drama and Italian and believes "It's the future, better to embrace than not."
I had a great discussion with Canberra College's Deputy Principal Melissa Planten. One of the great advantages of the chrome books in the teaching and learning space is that it enables equitable access to current information and research via the internet. In Global Studies classes, for example, teachers and students can check out latest news, comments and analysis on geo-political issues and current affairs and source news summaries and articles.
Rachel Regan teachers Year 11 Sociology. I was interested to chat to Rachel about their last exams which they administered as 'Digital Exams'. Students were expected to set their screens as 'full screen' for the exam (so they were not switching between screens) and teachers sat at the back of the room to monitor students. Student feedback was positive as they were able to cut and paste to organise their ideas and for teachers the exams were easier to read, marking was half-automated and the exam is set for future years (and can be easily modified). This made me wonder how many other schools are using 'Digital Exams' with their students?
Year 11 student James commented "I prefer typing, actually I like both, but there is flexibility to make changes. When writing, I can't change it." Another Year 11 student Ariane was also fond of the Digital Exam stating the following positives "I had no hand cramp. If you make a mistake it's easier to fix. More relaxed for assessment."
So....how will your High School or College make the most of their student allocated Chromebooks in 2018?