We are reaching the end of the first year of our new technology plan in the Durham District School Board. The shift we have seen this year has been powerful for our students and is a testament to how teachers have embraced the greater access to technology and the change to Chromebooks.
As we look to the end of the year and the start of next year, there are more schools and teachers who will be have access to Chromebooks in their classes. Year 2 of our plan will see the number of Chromebooks in the system double. Cycle 2 schools will be changing over to Chromebooks for all student computers in the Fall. High schools will also add another class of Chromebooks when next year’s Grade 10s receive their 1:1 devices.
High school staff has worked hard this year to integrate 1:1 Chromebooks into their practice with current Grade 10s. Understandably, some teachers have been reluctant to change practice when they do not have contact with classes of Grade 10 students. Next year, high schools will have 50% of students bringing Chromebooks to every class. The following year, this will move from half to 100% of students in the building as Grade 10s receive theirs for the first time and Grade 9s bring their Chromebooks from their elementary schools. This shift will come quickly and teachers need to continue to think about how this wave can be harnessed and utilized in their classrooms.
In addition to Grade 10s, our elementary schools will see 1:1 devices reach their entire Intermediate divisions as next year’s Grade 7s receive theirs in the Fall. Grade 8 students will be bringing their current devices with them, so their teachers can start planning for how to incorporate them into their daily routines right from the first day of school.
Elementary schools in Cycle 2 need to think about how they are preparing for the change in computing with their students. Here are some things that Cycle 2 schools should start thinking about:
Chromebooks run Chrome OS
This means they can do anything you can do in a Chrome web browser. Things for your students need to be internet-based. Most activities you’re doing are probably web-based already, but if you need support in this transition, the Innovative Education team is happy to help you find alternatives.
Students sign into Chromebooks with their student number followed by @ddsbstudent.ca
This may be a challenge at first, especially for our younger learners. However, with practice, this can definitely be achieved. How will you support your students?
There are no desktop folders on Chromebooks
This means you will need to distribute links and files to students in new ways, not through your class folder with School Connect. You can use Google Classroom, Moodle or D2L. Another alternative for link sharing is to use a class website. Google Sites makes this easy to build and maintain.
We can’t wait to see where year 2 of this ambitious plan takes us. Let us know what your school’s plans are for leveraging this new technology!