Schools look very different today than in the past. While the quality of human interactions remains a big predictor of student success, access to the latest technologies is also vital to prepare students for today's world. For many students, school is the only place they have that access.
My students are a very diverse group in terms of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, learning needs, and personality.
Some are enthusiastic, active learners who reach for everything I can offer. Some are more reluctant learners, and I try hard to find ways to also engage them actively. Some have lives that center around daily survival, and their energy is exhausted outside of school, with little brainpower left for learning when they get to school each day. Yet my job is to teach all of these students. Using technology is one way of meeting these diverse needs.
The use of technology can help motivate my reluctant learners to engage in learning. It can also personalize learning to match an individual student's specific goals. In our public school district, many funds have been cut over the past ten years due to state budgets being slashed. Even with the relative affordability of Chromebooks, my classroom budget is not large enough for purchases such as this.
Currently, my students use technology in many ways. My students use web-based applications that allow them to create documents and share them with others, so that students can work both independently and collaboratively. I can access their projects, monitor progress and give feedback directly on the document. Students create surveys to collect data, process data in spreadsheets, and create presentation slides, all using web-based applications. In math, there are several online programs that we use to provide practice with concepts that students have not yet mastered. These programs can be tailored to individual student needs so that all students are challenged. The programs provide immediate feedback to students as they work, so that I can focus on providing additional instruction to students who do not yet understand. Students can be more in control of their own learning goals, personalizing learning to their needs. Chromebooks provide low cost access to all of these learning tools.
Because many of my students do not have ready access to technology at home, school is the place where they become technologically literate in preparation for our rapidly changing society.
The use of technology allows them to be challenged at a level appropriate for the individual, while at the same time allowing them to learn collaboratively and receive feedback tailored to their needs. These Chromebooks will allow more students access to the technology that is such a vital learning tool.
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