As a Grade 7 teacher, I was very excited about the 1:1 student Chromebook initiative, and so were my students! On the day they arrived there was a palatable feeling of excitement in the school and the distribution was filled with all the ohhhhhh’s and ahhhhhhh’s of students exploring their new devices. That afternoon, I just happened to be starting a Data Management unit in math and decided to show the students how to use Google Sheets to collect and analyze data. The students were so engaged and interested in how to use formulas to calculate sums and averages as well as how easily they could create a variety of charts and graphs that we ended up spending the entire afternoon on that lesson and when the dismissal bell rang, we were all caught off guard that the day was over so quickly! Some students were so engaged that they actually asked if they could stay after school to finish what they were working on!
The real testament to the student engagement in that lesson came the next day when a student from a different Grade 7 class stopped me in the hallway and said, “Can you do that math lesson you did yesterday with my class today?” I was floored! I had never been asked by a student to do an ‘extra’ math lesson before! When I enquired why this student was making such an uncharacteristic request, he told me that my students had left the school yesterday all talking about the ‘cool’ things they learned to do on their Chromebooks and that he wanted to learn the cool things too! So, not only had my students been engaged during class, they had continued the conversation outside of school when they talked to their peers after school.
I have asked my students why they seem more engaged when they use their Chromebooks and the consensus was that they felt like the work they did on their Chromebooks just seemed more like “real life”.
While the initial excitement of that first day eventually waned a little, the engagement level of lessons where the students could use their Chromebooks continued to be higher than I had experienced in the past. I have asked my students why they seem more engaged when they use their Chromebooks and the consensus was that they felt like the work they did on their Chromebooks just seemed more like “real life”. I have realized that to this generation, technology is their ‘normal’ so when they are provided with opportunities to learn using technology it’s much more authentic learning in their eyes.