A new beginning?

Google Apps

I am hoping this post will herald the start of a more regular and interesting update on where we are as a school. Due to the lack of posts, it might be quite obvious that we have stood pretty firmly still since February’s staff meeting, though we have had the whole school’s wireless system ripped out and updated (baby steps).

We have also accepted the offer of a pilot from Google, in which we are trialling the use of Chromebooks with various apps.

We have had the Chromebooks in school since the beginning of the summer term, but today was the first time the children had been introduced to them properly. There have been issues with connections, proxy addresses and all manner of things which I am still unsure about, but we have got them working to an extent.

Today, my class took 35 minutes to log in to their accounts, simply because the proxy settings are such that any new user has to tick the box to force the proxy settings through. Obviously, this is an issue as it should be that the user opens the Chromebook, logs in and are away with their work.

Due to time constraints (it was the end of the day), we explored the most basic of features together. Firstly, I modelled how we could work in teams to edit work in a document; the children were amazed that they could see each other type, as well as being able to see who was online.

Secondly, we started a bit of a play-around on a presentation. The children chose an Olympic sport to work on, and I asked them to work in pairs on a slide whilst using different computers. Results were mixed, with some children getting very confused having been brought up on Word and IE, but others took to it quite naturally. As a result, I felt a little frustrated, namely due to the time it took to actually produce anything, but also because I had perhaps expected a little too much of a class of 33.

So imagine my delight when I was planning for tomorrow’s Chromebook activity and I had another look at the day’s presentation to see 10 of the class online, at home, editing their work.

If I hadn’t realised the potential of collaborative learning before today, then consider myself schooled. The children were in their element, adding, editing, talking to each other and commenting on what they had changed, and I know that other children will try it too. I am impatient, and a perfectionist. Children don’t mind; they just want to be. When they got home tonight, that’s what they did. They just got on, explored, and have produced a pretty good first effort using the presentation app.

I will post their work next week.

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