MANCHESTER – Middle school students at Assumption School ended the year with their heads in the cloud. That would be the Google cloud, using Google Chromebooks, a computer that is transforming teaching and learning while closing achievement gaps in 21st century classrooms.
The school undertook the introduction of Chromebooks as part of Assumption’s vision to meet academic and technologic challenges into 2020 and beyond. With this acquisition, the school has upgraded its computer lab with the latest innovations in equipment and Internet access.
Marguerite Ouellette, principal, said administrators’ research identified the Samsung Chromebook as the ideal model for the school. Chromebook computers access the educational and collaborative resources of the Internet efficiently, at high speed and at lower cost than traditional personal computers.
The school’s first Chromebooks arrived in the last few months of school year 2012-13 and gave the already tech-savvy sixth, seventh and eighth graders a chance to experience cloud-based lessons and interactive research in all subject areas and in extracurricular activities.
Students log on via the Google home page and the school’s website and are ready to work instantly.
“'Instantly' means about six seconds and you’re on,” said Sister Joan Clare Gulden, who teaches eighth grade. “If one has not experienced nearly instant online access, the Google Chromebook is truly revolutionary.”
Sister Joan Clare also noted that the Chromebook technology, while offering students a wide range of freedom to research, bookmark sites and set backgrounds and keyboard shortcuts, also ensures online control from the teacher’s perspective.
For example, a flexible synchronizing procedure allows for the enabling of such features as YouTube access for a prescribed amount of time to support assignments and student needs.
A wide range of Google applications (apps) supports academic, research and interactive learning exercises. Seventh grader Nick Villandry demonstrated the graphing calculator app by writing equations of various parabolas drawn online. Revealing how students are having fun while learning, he described writing the equations for a spider-shaped parabola that was a student favorite as a bonus question on their final exam.
Math teacher Pam Langelier’s summer math assignments will use an interactive program that enables students to receive online rewards as well as play educationally oriented math games at many skill levels.
Lisa Bonanno introduced blogging to her eighth-grade literature students and will expand it into the sixth and seventh grades. She used a blog app on which literature students can post responses to teacher-posed questions and comments that encourage deeper thinking and reflection and establish student-to-student dialogue. She said the blog was a hit with the eighth graders.
The eighth graders who recently graduated from Assumption School will enter high school with more advanced learning and study skills as a result of their use of the Chromebook technology, school administrators say. They point to it as another example of the school’s commitment to preparing its middle school students to excel in high school.
Assumption School enrolls students from prekindergarten through grade eight. The main campus is at 27 S. Adams Street, and the middle school campus at 45 Ludlow Road. Information is available from Ms. Ouellette at 860-649-0889 or at http://www.assumptionschoolct.com.