“My goal is to get them out at least once a week.” Math teacher Elizabeth Pearson, a new recruit to Suncoast’s Technology Trailblazers Program, has already set goals for her classes Chromebook usage this year. The whole idea of using Chromebooks is adventurous and exciting, and that goes for any new technology. However, when it comes down to business, we need to know if these devices are getting the job done.
Before getting to the whole Chromebook deal, there is something that must be addressed: Google Classroom. Based on previous experience, Miss Pearson has found Google Classroom to be much more efficient than Edline. On top of being, “more user friendly,” Pearson explained how Classroom is faster than Edline and how it supports more file formats; basically, she has more flexibility with her online assignments in Classroom than on Edline.
Now, we can move on to the big deal: Chromebooks. The advantage to using these devices in class is that every person has their own screen. Pearson explained one way these devices will be used in the classroom this year: “Especially in statistics, there’s a lot of different interactive applets and programs online that are just fine for me to show you guys over the projector, but way better if I can let each one of you guys have your Chromebook open in front of you.” Although our school has computer labs, Chromebooks are more practical because they are portable and reside within the classroom.
Google Chromebooks have many applications in the classroom, but they do have some limitations. Miss Pearson explains that, “Taking notes and doing homework is not very feasible” because of the numerous equations and symbols required in math courses. Chromebooks are nice, but we already have access to Windows laptops. Chromebooks are faster, but they only run Google Chrome. Therefore, any task which cannot be completed online must be done on another machine. “I think it’s kind of comparing apples to oranges,” Pearson stated, “they’re good at different things.”
This whole program may benefit students, or maybe have no effect at all. Pearson believes new teaching methods involving technology and traditional teaching methods, “can be used together” to benefit the student body. We may experience several problems with these devices, but over time, we will begin to use them to their full potential. As Pearson explained, “We have a lot of bumps in the road that we have hit, and are going to hit, but we’re going to figure them out.”