27 Dec The Best Thing About Google Apps and Chromebooks — Teachers Get Schooled
Students aren’t the only ones learning in leaps in bounds with 1:1 Chromebook programs. Teachers around the world share their innovative ideas and content, keeping educators at the top of their game.
No one can deny that Google has struck gold with the Google Apps for Education, Chrome OS and Chromebook brands. The company understands the core problems teachers are facing and continually delivers intuitive tools for improving curriculum and instruction. Google also knows that affordability and longevity are equally important, as districts need cost-efficient technology that can evolve at the same lightning-fast pace as our socioeconomic culture.
In every way, Chromebooks satisfy the needs of most teachers and students of typing age, and developers large and small have enriched the classroom experience by providing apps that encourage inventiveness. Yet, the most exhilarating reform emerging in Chromebook schools is the pioneering spirit of educators who embrace the boundlessness of working from the Web and the cloud.
Back in 2013, Google Connect hosted a Web series called “Innovative Chromebook Teachers,” in which educators from around the country demonstrated how they used the computers with various apps to improve back-end content management and classroom instruction. The series lit the spark of imagination in teachers around the world, who realized the many unexpected ways they could tailor apps to fit their academic subjects and student needs.
Today, the Web is overflowing with Chromebook blogs, lesson plans and assignment templates from educators who use their experience and creativity to keep finding better and better solutions. It’s not only student engagement that matters; teachers are the most valuable educational tools, and they are the key to solving problems that prevent students from synthesizing and evaluating the information they absorb.
Teachers can easily fall into a tired cycle of delivering uninspired lectures or assigning reading without challenging students to ask questions and assess their knowledge while they’re absorbing the content. The Chromebook lifestyle encourages teachers to engage in back-and-forth discussion that helps students see the connections between information and application.
Consider the work of Illinois geosciences teacher, Allison Gest, who was featured in Google’s Web series. Gest’s students used Google Draw to instantly create diagrams of geological concepts they were studying in class. Students also had to add captions to demonstrate their understanding of the processes. At the same time, the class all contributed to a growing idea bank of posted sources and a thought map of the lesson concepts.
Students were able to continually refine their analysis of the concepts based on the new ideas each person contributed, which helped them plan for an upcoming project. Diagramming also forced them to work through the concepts logically and think about how and why specific processes occur.
Many teachers at Chromebook schools undergo the same kind of thought transformation as their students. When they encounter the vast resources and applications available to Chromebook classrooms, teachers are motivated to evaluate the flaws in curriculum and do away with inefficient methods of instruction. They work together and create new content to replace outdated resources. They provide outlets for students to spotlight personal strengths and develop custom learning models. They keep learning, growing and changing, and when they finally get it right, they look for more tools to master to make academic success a possibility for every student.
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