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Farmington introduces new Chromebook technology into the classroom

Sophomore+Analiese+Schneemann+works+on+a+Google+Classroom+assignment+in+Mr+Anteau%27s+5th+hour+class.
Sophomore Analiese Schneemann works on a Google Classroom assignment in Mr Anteau's 5th hour class.

Sophomore Analiese Schneemann works on a Google Classroom assignment in Mr Anteau's 5th hour class.

Sophomore Analiese Schneemann works on a Google Classroom assignment in Mr Anteau's 5th hour class.

Akili Echols, Editor

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Teachers integrated new technology into their lessons after the introduction of Chromebooks at the start of the school year.

Chromebooks, a Google Chrome-based device, are on carts in many of Farmington’s classrooms. Students are now able to connect to Google Classroom, an online virtual classroom, where they can turn in assignments and get notifications from their teachers. Carts full of computers sit in many of the teachers’ rooms, accessible for daily use.

“They are cheap and we could buy a lot more Chromebooks than Windows computers. Also, they are simple to use and provide almost everything a student needs to complete tasks,” said Justin Ellsworth, Instructional Technology Coordinator for FHS.

After deciding what technology was best, teachers applied for a Chromebooks cart.

“An application process asked for teachers to demonstrate how they planned to use the Chromebooks with their students,” Ellsworth.

Once it was decided which teachers were given Chromebooks, it was up to the teachers to decide how to best use them.

Ellsworth says that the main purpose of technology in the classroom is “to give students opportunities to personalize their learning, collaborate in online work and conversations, and learn how to use technology productively and appropriately.” Teachers now have the ability to incorporate these goals in their daily lessons.

In previous years, technology at Farmington was limited and not the best quality.

“All the computers in the lab and stuff are slow and the network itself is very slow so it’s hard to do things efficiently a lot of times,” said Charlotte Campbell, 12.

Students heard about the possibility of Chromebooks towards the end of last school year.

“I thought it was cool because they first said we could carry them around and stuff. Now that we found out we couldn’t, it was stupid. Just because they don’t have them in all the classes and when we do- they aren’t individual, just like a class set. It’s not like you have them to take around everywhere,” said Campbell.

While students were thinking about the possibility of having their own personal technology to keep for the school year, teachers were thinking about their ability to properly use the Chromebooks.

“I had mixed emotions about it because I’m not the most technologically literate person in the world, and I wasn’t really aware of some of the tools that we could use that don’t require a lot of tech knowledge so I would say I had mixed feelings,” said Steven Korpusik, history teacher. “I did see how it could be beneficial to a classroom and I liked the idea that I wouldn’t have to sign up for computer labs anymore.”

Despite the initial disappointment from students and concern from teachers, Chromebooks have changed the way teachers teach and students learn in class.

“I think that it simplified in that it saved me time at the copier and when students are absent. Since I have Google Classroom, they don’t even have to ask me what they missed – they can go to Classroom. And when it comes to sharing resources with other teachers, it has really simplified things,” said Korpusik.

Although the technology has simplified things, it has not, according to some teachers and students, dramatically enhanced the learning experience of students.

“I don’t know that there is any more or less enjoyment for students versus what I was doing before, I think it’s really more of a time save for me than anything else,” said Korpusik.

Because students nowadays live their lives online, the addition of more technology in the classroom isn’t a huge adjustment.

“A lot of the assignments are just on Google Classroom, Google Docs, or Google Sheets. I’ve already used those before so I know how to work them,” said Campbell.

While student can easily adjust, not all teachers easily grasp how to use the technology to their best capabilities.

“Teachers don’t know necessarily how to use them to their full capabilities, so we can only use them to the max that the teacher knows how to use them,” said Campbell.

Another disadvantage that Chromebooks have is the inability to provide a hard copy resource for students.

“Probably the biggest disadvantage is that students can interact with a hard copy of something as opposed to like a resource that has limited their interactions with it,” said Korpusik.

Despite the pros and cons, Farmington looks to continue adding new technology to the school for the next few years.

“Since we passed a bond a few years ago, we will have enough to fund technology for the next three years. Beyond that, we will need to identify additional funding sources to replace the current Chromebooks and other technologies,” said Ellsworth.

In the extended future, technology in Farmington’s classrooms will provide an enhanced learning experience.

“Connections to the outside world through guided or self-guided trips, live conversations with experts, and working with other students or experts to solve problems,” said Ellsworth about how technology could be used in classrooms in the future.

Chromebooks are just another resource that is changing the way students learn, although some people are hesitant about the idea of too much technology.

“Technology as a resource but not technology as an end all be all, said Korpusik. “I’m not opposed to technology as a tool to support learning but it can’t be the center of what learning is.”

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Farmington introduces new Chromebook technology into the classroom