Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School

Chromebooks Transform Teaching and Learning at Middle School  thumbnail119528

Across every subject area, Chromebooks are serving as valuable learning tools at Edmund W. Miles Middle School. Every student in seventh, eighth and ninth grade received a device in February for use both in school and at home.

Teachers say that one of the biggest benefits is having the technology readily available, so students can easily access information and participate in interactive learning experiences. Through Google Classroom, teachers can share course assignments, reading passages, worksheets and more. 

Eighth and ninth grade math teacher David Takseraas posts multiple choice questions and can see student responses right away. This allows him to know how well they are understanding a concept. He also posts daily videos reviewing the homework, which students can watch on their own so more class time can be devoted to teaching new material.

“This is what they’re going to be doing in college,” Mr. Takseraas said of technology-centric learning. “We’re preparing them for their future educations and future careers.”

Seventh and eighth grade English teacher Justin Uliano had his students use Chromebooks extensively during a recent poetry unit. Using various online resources, they located and read different types of poems to inspire their own writing. Students then created poetry anthologies filled with original works. 

“It’s really opened up options for them as to what information they can find,” Mr. Uliano said. “It gives them a lot more independence and a lot more choice.”

Mr. Uliano added that having students use Google Docs for writing assignments makes it easier to edit and revise their pieces. There is also a comment feature which allows him to give feedback to his students throughout the writing process. Additionally, he has students use a program called Plot Factory to plan out the different elements of their stories for better structure and organization.

Social studies teacher Frank O’Brien said the Chromebooks allow students to easily access the historical documents he regularly shares. He also likes that the devices provide opportunities for easy collaboration on group projects.

To bring excitement into his lessons, Mr. O’Brien also uses interactive games for review during each topic. With Kahoot, students independently answer questions on the Chromebooks, and the class results are displayed on the SmartBoard, with rankings based on both correct answers and speed. Quizlet creates a competitive review session in a team format. 

Science teachers Ann Poulin, Christine Quigley and Jennifer Sanchez have found numerous ways to support the curriculum with Chromebooks. Students can take part in virtual labs, which gets them familiar with equipment and terminology before conducting hands-on experiments. They like to use Nearpod, an interactive learning platform featuring slideshows, videos and quizzes. Teachers say they particularly like the interactive games because they get every student involved. 

“When you don’t have technology, you can only pick on two or three kids who raise their hands,” Ms. Sanchez said. 

Teachers noted that because today’s learners are very proficient in technology, there is almost no learning curve when a new program is introduced. Students are quick to grasp the features of the different learning tools, maximizing instructional time.