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Using tech to the max

MNW’s Chromebooks add new spin to education

September 21, 2012
By BRANDON L. SUMMERS, bsummers@messengernews.net , Messenger News

BARNUM - Manson Northwest Webster Elementary School is using newly purchased Samsung Chromebooks to enhance its students' learning.

The laptops were received Thursday and put to immediate use, according to Justin Daggett, MNW elementary school principal.

"This opens up a whole realm of possibilities as far as collaboration and creating," Daggett said. "Our challenge as educators now is to figure out how we're going to use this new technology in an innovative way, to allow our students to create and be innovative with this technology and not just use it for word processing and things like that."

Article Photos


-Messenger photo by Brandon L. Summers
Jodi Jacobsen, fourth-grade teacher at MNW elementary, instructs student Brighton Pullen.

All MNW elementary students in grades four, five and six have been issued their own laptops. Students in grades preschool, kindergarten, first and second will be getting 10 for use in their classrooms, Daggett said.

"Their students won't have one-to-one laptops, but they will have those Chromebooks in their room to use," he said.

Each of the Chromebooks is customized with the MNW logo on its shell and a number. Like textbooks, the laptops are checked out to the students.

"They're going to stay here at the school," Daggett said. "We're not going to let them take them home."

Educators at MNW elementary are collaborating on how to best exploit the technology for daily classroom use, Daggett said.

"Students these days, they're very technology savvy," he said. "We're going to be having discussions as a staff on how we can use these in our rooms to allow our students to explore and to create, but still to meet the standards in the content we're trying to teach.

"How that looks yet, we don't really know. We're going to be having a lot of conversations as a staff."

Jodi Jacobsen, MNW fourth-grade teacher, said having the technology in her class has been great.

"It's been a wonderful motivator, and I think it takes the kids' thinking to a deeper level," she said. "It amazes me how much they know already."

The technology is being used to broaden her students' learning, Jacobsen said.

"When they've completed their geometry assignment, they get out their laptops and they get on Symbaloo where I have a collection of math games and spelling games they can use, and they can choose any of those to practice skills they're working on," she said.

The MNW school district is also considering purchasing Kindle Fire for its students, Daggett said.

"We are exploring as a district getting tablets in here," he said. "We've been researching different tablets. Instead of jumping into something, we're going to figure out what best meets the needs of our classrooms first and go from there.

According to Daggett, tablets have many educational applications that can be used for reading and math instruction.

"That's the hope," he said. "Just to embrace technology and use it to enrich what we're already doing, as far as our curriculum. Our superintendent (Mark Egli) is very proactive in trying to be progressive with the use of technology in the classrooms."

Christine Sturgeon, MNW technology integrationist, said providing students with access to computers "levels the playing field.

"The digital divide still exists," she said. "There are students here who are using computers in my technology class who don't have computers at home and don't know how to do basic things their classmates know how to do. This is a way to bridge that divide."

According to Sturgeon, technology must be used purposefully to be effective.

"We really see using these in the classroom authentically with students," she said. "You can't have technology for technology's sake. It really has to be part of the learning process."

Many of the teachers at MNW elementary are ready to incorporate computers into their classrooms, Sturgeon said.

"The teachers are so ready to go with this, so eager and excited," she said. "They're just going to be exceptional, and it is an exceptional opportunity for students."

 
 

 

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