Sunday, July 14, 2013

1:1 Chromebook Classroom!!!

You will love our new 1:1 Chromebooks!

I'm so excited to be able to tell all of you that we will have 1:1 Chromebooks in the fifth grade next year!  In "kid language" the term "1:1" means that in our classroom we will have enough computers for each student to have a computer to use during the school day.  The computers will be stored in our classroom and will be available whenever we need them during the day.  We will not take the computers home with us at night, but they will be recharged and waiting here for you each morning!

What, you may ask, is a Chromebook?  A Chromebook is a bit like a laptop computer, but with some important differences.  First of all they are small.  Chromebooks are about the size of a clipboard, weigh only about two pounds, and are about 3/4" thick.  When you use one you don't save your work to the computer itself, you save your work "in the cloud".  What does "in the cloud" mean?  It means that your work is stored elsewhere and not on your computer itself.  That means that you don’t need to worry about forgetting or losing your flash drive.  It means that you will be able to access your work from any computer at school, at home, the library, or your grandmother’s house!

I have been using a Chromebook quite a bit this summer and I absolutely love working with it.  The battery holds its charge for at least 6 hours which will suit us well at school.  (I suspect we will recharge them at lunchtime and again each evening.)  The size makes them perfect to carry around and use in different areas - although not outside because our wireless connection doesn’t reach very far outside the building.  I have been using Google Apps a lot and have discovered many different activities that will enhance and enrich our learning.  The possibilities are absolutely endless! In fact, to my mind, there won’t be enough time in the school year to do all that I would like to do with you using these computers!

Chromebooks are meant to be used online and we will use them a lot this year.  We will keep Interactive Reading Logs for Reading Workshop and we’ll  use Google Docs to write and publish our work in Writing Workshop.  We will use the Chromebooks in every subject area!  In science and social studies we will use them for research and to publish our learning in all sorts of interesting ways.  We will use Chromebooks to deepen our understanding of new math concepts and to help us practice our math facts.  We will be able to practice our spelling words online too.   I’m very eager to use the computers to help us to meet the challenges of the problem-based units we will take on.  More about that later : )We will have a parent meeting very early in the school year to explain how our 1:1 program will work and to answer questions parents may have about this exciting new learning opportunity.  

In the meanwhile what can you do to get ready to start the new year with this fabulous technology?  You can practice Typing Pal Online so that you have strong keyboarding skills.  This will help you be more efficient as you work on the computer.  If you have a school G-Mail account you could also work with some Google Apps such as Google Docs so that you become more familiar with the possibilities these programs offer.

I am very grateful to our wonderfully supportive school board; our principal, Karen Prescott; and our superintendent, John Castle;  for supporting this initiative and making the 1:1 Chromebooks available to our class.  We are lucky to have such a supportive community!

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