Friday, March 2, 2018

An Update on our Chromebook Rollout

We are getting those Chromebooks rolled out - more campuses have classroom sets every week. Our role as Digital Learning specialists is not limited to simply showing teachers how to use these great new tools, and we can offer teachers more than simply great tips and tricks for basic Chromebook usage. As we make our way around to every PISD campus, we educate our users on several key elements of successful technology use.
  1. ISTE Standards: these standards are now written in to Texas law and provide aspirational guidelines for students and educators alike 
  2. The SAMR model of technology integration: helping educators to use the tools at more than just the substitution level
  3. The TPACK framework: encouraging all educators to keep the focus on content and pedagogy (the most important parts of the framework)
  4. How to select the best technology tool for a particular task or lesson
If we haven't made it to your campus yet, don't worry! It's likely that we will be paying you a visit soon. We also plan to loop around to all the campuses again and again so we can follow up introductory visits with those that are more pedagogically based.

We often mention "creation over consumption" when we talk Chromebooks. Consumption activities are those like drill and practice websites, watching YouTube videos, or simply looking up facts online. Some research indicates that students in underserved communities are more likely to be directed to drill and practice activities and may have fewer opportunities to create content, so we try to make sure that all teachers are aware of this possibility. Creation activities require higher level thinking skills and might involve collaborating on a Google doc or using a new tool to create a presentation. I liked this list of 50 Chromebook tools to inspire students that I found recently. These creation-oriented tool suggestions can work across curricular areas - just be sure to check the privacy policies if you work with students under the age of 13.

An additional emphasis that we try to mention in every training is digital citizenship. Now that our students have access to more devices, it is more important than ever to teach our students to use them wisely. We live in an unfiltered world, and we need to be helping our students learn to deal with digital distraction and digital focus, how to interact appropriately online, and how to use the democratizing power of the Internet for passion projects.

Your digital learning team is here to help you make the most of those Chromebooks! Please contact any of us if you would like to arrange training for your team or if you have any questions.

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