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Chromebooks Have Landed!

A few years ago when I was working at Poudre School District in Ft. Collins, CO we looked at Chromebooks for our Middle School students.  At the time I was teaching tech and History classes and as the resident “Who would like to test this out?” guy (they actually called is DIPS!) I was asked to trial some.  At the time I was completely against them; too limited, too restricted and they (and here is the key) wouldn’t do half of what I was doing in class.  Why was that?  Well, prior to the trial the district had made a big push for two platforms Office and Google.  Now with the later, Chromebooks are a dream, but with the former…not so much.  As you’ll know from reading other posts I am a BIG advocate of OneNote Classroom Notebook Creator (among other MS products)…best thing for a classroom teacher since chalk!  But, not on Chromebooks.  OneNote online just doesn’t have the functionality.  The district ended up staying with PC and it worked out just fine.

So, fast forward to last year and a new school, this one is, or has been until now, strictly Apple.  We have had iPads (1:2) from EC to Grade 5, 1:1 iPads from grade 6 to 8 and MacBooks from 9-12.  Thankfully when I arrived as the integrationist we also got a new tech director who has very similar ideas to mine, especially in regards to what is best for students.  Seems that when schools hire tech folks that have been in the classroom they have a much more empathetic view as to what goes on in the classroom, go figure! We both saw a need for students to be more productive, better managed and to stop thumb-typing five page science labs!  Hence Chromebooks.

Fast forward one year and one ordering cycle later and we are now in the middle of rolling Chromebooks (CTL NL6’s) out to two different grade levels: Grade 8 (1:1) and Grade 5 (1:2).  After a year of trying to manage iPads it is incredible how easy it is to adjust and control the Chromebooks.  The Admin console allows for such easy administration, especially if you can focus on separate grade levels or division levels.  I’m still getting into the nuances of managing the devices, and any suggestions or tips are always appreciated!

Next post will be an update on the progress for both students and teachers.  Wish us luck!

Cheers!
Alex

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Let’s Mix it Up!

Mix logo

I have recently convinced the folks in out IT department to add this free add-on to PowerPoint not only for teachers – which is where you would expect to see it, but for students as well.  Why for students?  Well a little background first:

Office Mix allows a PowerPoint to be designed much more like a teaching tool – and is perfect for flipping lessons.  It lets you add questions, polls, open responses, discussions, video and audio of yourself, screenshots and screencasts.  With these tools you can take any teacher-centered presentation and make it much more interactive and interesting.  In addition you can design it to be mobile-device friendly.

So why for students?  Why not!  We are using it in class to have students present their findings on a particular topic, but rather than standing at the front of the class and work through a presentation they are teaching the class about their topic and checking for understanding at the same time.  And as all educators know, you lean way more by teaching than you do by sittin’-‘n-gettin’.

To learn more visit the Office Mix site and explore the possibilities.

Make it a good one!

Alex

A New Topic at Broaden Education

Greetings All!

I have decided to branch out a little bit on the site.  I’ve added a new page called Managing Tech where I will be posing different solutions, problems or just general impressions of how folks manage technology in their classrooms.  I hope you’ll pop in from time to time and I would really welcome any observations, anecdotes, comments, etc. to keep things lively and interesting.

Have a great day!

Alex