Teacher Tools: Integrating Technology
Teacher Tools: Integrating Technology
Posted on 03/15/2019
With the 2016 Capital Project and Technology Levy, Edmonds School District purchased Chromebook laptops for every student in grades 2-12 and every two students in kindergarten and grade 1. In addition, each student has a Google Suite for Education account that includes email and other cloud-based computing products for writing, presentations and storage.
But how does giving students laptops help them become successful citizens of the future? The answer is in their use.
First and foremost, students are taught by world-class teachers who know how to engage each student. Using Google and a classroom management tool called Canvas, teachers can enhance their teaching strategies in order to diversify lesson plans, teach to all learning styles and increase student engagement. This article profiles two teachers and how they integrate technology tools into student learning.
Social Studies: Learning by Doing
“Show me that you are ready to learn, Go!” Fifth-grade teacher Alecia Aillaud at Oak Heights Elementary uses positive encouragement to get her students ready for learning.
Students work together, under Aillaud’s direction, to write an outline to answer the question, “Why did Europeans set out to explore?” She types into a Google Slides online document that is shown on a large format display TV in front of the classroom. She pulls tongue depressors with student names from a jar in order to call on students to contribute sentences or transition words to the paragraphs. She is continually utilizing new strategies to engage students.
After the group lesson, each student gets out their Chromebook laptop and opens the shared Google Slides. Their assignment is to find and insert appropriate images to accompany the paragraph and write photo captions that highlight the text. Students excitedly get to work writing, formatting pictures and discussing ideas with neighbors while Aillaud is able to give support to students one-on-one.
Google Suite for Education and Google Classroom have a “wide variety of uses, so lots of different lessons and activities and approaches to learning,” Aillaud said. “It has made my teaching easier and more effective.”
English: Writing a Narrative
Students break into four groups in teacher Krista Morales’ 8th grade English class at Brier Terrace Middle to “workshop” their writing assignment. First, they log in to Canvas on their Chromebook laptops. Districtwide, around 83 percent of students in grades 7-12 have one or more courses in Canvas. Student Anna Dahlam thinks it’s great because Canvas is easy to use. “On my dashboard, I can see all my assignments and what’s completed,” she said.
One group of students, as part of an assignment on Canvas, listens to NPR Podcasts then writes and submits their own poems. Another group is writing narrative stories on Google Docs. Morales talks with the students about the benefits of using descriptive storytelling and the benefits to the reader. Students will submit completed stories online for review. A third group of students is busy reading independently on comfy couches and a fourth group was utilizing commas in their writing. All groups, employing different learning styles, are working through the same lesson on narrative writing.
At the beginning of each lesson, the class is given a practice assignment and after one class day, Morales can easily review each student’s understanding using a rubric in Canvas. These tools allow “lots of opportunities to differentiate, get feedback and target students that need more support,” she says. With around 90 students seen in a day, she is always looking for ways to check in with students and give extra support to some students and provide enrichment to others.