Schools have been expanding their limits and capabilities with the addition of new technology in classrooms. In the industrious Silicon Valley, especially, the desire to incorporate technology into everyday learning becomes an increasing necessity.
Chromebooks are being utilized in more schools each year, and middle schools are no exception to this. At the beginning of the new school year, students entering the sixth grade at Dartmouth and Union Middle Schools were handed personal computers to aid their learning processes for their three years at middle school. The computers are to be returned or bought for a discounted price at the end of the eighth grade year.
This inclusion of chromebooks reaps certain benefits and misfortunes.
Teachers have found chromebooks to be beneficial for various reason. A major advantage of this technology is that it allows for better one-on-one communication with students. Fast feedback can be given, and revisions can be made more efficiently than before, and teachers are experiencing lighter loads to take home, as the old worksheets are being replaced with new forms and interactive sites online.
“Instead of taking stacks and stacks of papers home, I am able to comment directly on their documents and students make revisions right away,” said Megan Mullaly, a sixth grade teacher at Dartmouth Middle School.
Using chromebooks also opens up the opportunities to enhance creativity in learning, as students are presented with more resources to share their slides, post their work, and even take assessments.
In some aspects, however, the unknowing sixth graders who are barely adjusting to life in middle school find it difficult to manage the added responsibility that comes with the entrustment of their own chromebooks. Not only that, but also technology can be addictive; thus, in a time of their lives when they should be running around and playing games with their classmates, the sixth graders are, instead, allotting their time to go on the devices.
Although there are a good amount of benefits and drawbacks, teachers are working to make chromebooks a useful addition to the classroom so that any potential drawback may be trumped by the benefits. The inclusion of this technology seems to be getting more positive, than negative, responses from teachers, and from the sixth graders, alike.
“I feel that the chromebooks are a good addition to the classroom. I think it is essential for our students to be future-ready learners; to be able to think critically, collaborate with peers, create projects that demonstrate their understanding, and communicate their learning. The ability to effectively communicate one-on-one with the students, along with the professional development that has been provided to the teachers, is the most immediate way to ensure that [our] students are prepared for their futures,” said Mullaly, “Plus, [the students] love it!”
The majority of students have expressed interest in and a penchant for these chromebooks, as they are simple, more organized, less strenuous on the hand, and easier to research on. However, some still enjoy the familiarity with working on paper.
“I really like working on a chromebook, but I would prefer working on paper. I sometimes get distracted [on chromebooks] and it’s easier for me to study and look at paper than on a chromebook,” said Sara Naji, a sixth grader at Dartmouth Middle School.
Despite differences in preference, most agree that chromebooks have been interesting and useful additions to the classrooms.