Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sabin Students Conquering Chromebooks! By Meghan Gabler, Librarian, Sabin Magnet Elementary

Here at Sabin, our students are learning to become fond followers of all things Google. I compare this fascination and resounding excitement very similarly to the arrival of our iPad’s last year. The arrival of the Chromebooks caused mixed feelings at first. There were students disappointed because a Chromebook is not an iPad. There were students that were nervous because they had never heard of or seen a Chromebook before. There were students thrilled to be learning about and working with a new piece of technology. I am happy to report most of the students have all transferred their original feelings to the latter, now all excited to be taking on this new technology. The fears have subsided and they are slowly becoming experts in their own way.

I began with a very overdramatized enactment of how to and how not to handle and use the Chromebooks. I am happy to report there have been no incidencts with mistreatment or mishandling. Even better, in most of my classes where we use the Chromebooks there are a few self appointed students who make sure all of the devices are returned to the cart at the end of their class session. It has been wonderful.

As of now the classes that are getting the most experience with the Chromebooks are my fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders. I see all seventh and eighth graders together every morning and all fifth and sixth graders together every afternoon.  This results in very large classes with more students than Chromebooks but I have made it work. Luckily because of the other technology in my classroom and the variety of educational paid applications/websites that our school provides, I can work with the classes in two large groups. With that allowance, I have paired students together so they can work and bounce ideas off of each other through every assignment and project that we have.

Our current project for the second quarter possibly leading into the third is just beginning. Students are going to work on the High School Research project that was shared with all CPS Librarians at the start of the school year 2013/2014. It is an amazingly detailed, thorough and outlined project that includes both research and presentation of findings. Students have started with light research to choose a few high schools they are willing to research. As we move on they will be working simultaneously via a shared google document to collect answers to questions, images and citations of their findings via the Easybib add-on within google docs. It is a great project, I feel, because the students are at the age where high school is fast approaching and exposure to the variety of high schools that are offered in and around the Chicagoland area will be beneficial to our students.

The Chromebooks and the interactions with Google Apps for Education is encouraging my students to use Google Chrome and Google search engine in general for all of their work. They are finding it easy to use and are more understanding of how it works. As the year progresses my younger students will be using the Chromebooks more for research and other projects themselves. The Google Chrome browser has been a wonderful took for teaching my K and 1st grade students how to search for a website they want using both anchor charts and general knowledge while in the Library Media Center. I am truly excited to see how these projects turn out and see how easily the students are able to conduct their research thanks to the Chromebooks.

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