Technology in the classroom is quickly expanding and evolving. Just a few years ago, only one or two students in a class had a laptop and, often, it was simply seen as a distraction. Now, Foreward-thinking educators are encouraging students to use all kinds of technology to learn.
Chromebooks are distributed to classes in a mobile lab format, students use apps to supplement learning, videos give students a way to see and understand what they are being taught, and even using smart phones is encouraged for activities. Schools are growing alongside technology, providing a varied and holistic approach to learning that is becoming increasingly individualized, and doesn’t seem to be slowing.
Promevo wants to help schools in implementing new technology and to grow along with them. For this reason, a couple months ago, we partnered with Samsung to hold a contest and give a lucky school an awesome tech bundle.
This bundle included:
- 5 Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Education tablets
- 5 Google Play for Education Licenses
- 1 Samsung Cloud Printer
Susan Porch, of the Plymouth-Shiloh School District, in Plymouth, OH won the contest. Her school is located just a few hours north of Promevo’s Erlanger, KY office, so we were able to visit and see first hand how the teachers and students will use what they won.
Plymouth-Shiloh’s Own Contest
The Promevo/Samsung contest wasn’t the only contest held to see who would get the tablet bundle. The Plymouth-Shiloh School District held their own contest to determine what classroom would receive the tablets. The district’s Superintendent, Dr. Metcalf, felt the fairest thing to do was to give all of the teaching staff, from K-12, an opportunity to receive the new technology in their classrooms. The contest consisted of presentations in front of the district’s faculty and administrators. Math teachers, Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube, put together a winning video proposal showing how they would use the tablets, Google Play for Education, and the cloud printer.
Visiting the Winners
Ashtin Odoy, one of our Google Apps Certified Deployment Specialists, and I went to meet the winners and to help set up the tech. We were greeted by the High School’s Principal, Mrs. Mahon, who told us how thrilled the teachers and students were to receive the new devices.
We met Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube. They were very excited to tell us about all of their plans for the tablets. We also met Mr. McKenzie, the district director of technology, and Joey, his student assistant. The Plymouth-Shiloh School District has integrated Chromebooks, charging carts for mobile labs, tablets, apps, and Smart Boards into their classrooms. Mr. McKenzie pointed out, “We are the smallest school in our area and have the most technology. We use rolling carts for our Chromebooks. Currently we are approximately 3:1, students:devices. We are wireless campus wide.”
Ashtin set up the cloud printer, showed everyone how to provision the tablets, and set up Google Play for Education on them. While she was setting everything up, I was able to talk to the teachers about their plans. We could see their enthusiasm as they learned more about all the capabilities of the tablets and Google Play for Education.
Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube plan to fully integrate the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Education tablets and Google Play for Education into the classroom. It is amazing all the versatile ways that they plan to use their new technology.
One use of the Samsung tablets and Google Play for Education is differentiated learning. For instance, the teachers may allow students that have a firm understanding of math to take quizzes early. Students that are behind, may receive extra math problems, apps, and videos through Google Play for Education to help them along.
Changing Up Ways to Learn
The teachers were very excited to hear about the many teacher-approved apps available in the Google Play for Education store. Ms. Whitcomb was particularly thrilled that she can push out apps like GeoGebra, a dynamic math app, on the tablets and that she can create playlists of teacher-approved YouTube videos to supplement learning and help with homework.
Many activities in Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube’s classes require mobility. While Chromebooks are great for mobility, there are some activities that require the extra mobility that tablets can provide. Some students use their smart phones for these activities, but not all have them. The tablets are great for those students who do not have smart phones or devices of their own to use for classroom activities, and they provide more capabilities than phones.
More Time for Teaching and Learning
The Samsung tablets will provide more time for teaching and learning. With the tablets, students will be able to show their work easily and learn from each other in a more efficiently. Ms. Whitcomb explained, “Writing formulas or equations on the tablets is quicker than using the equation editor that we currently use. Sharing work instantly on the Smartboard is nicer than having students do the work and then have to take the time to copy it again on the board.” This is just one way the tablets can be used to streamline teaching and provide more time for teachers and students.
Enabling Real World Applications
Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube are intentional in developing ways to show the many real world uses of math, and how it can be used with other subjects, like science for instance. One interactive project that the tablets will help with is using trigonometry along with a clinometer to determine the height of the school flagpole. In this exercise, students compare theoretical and real world math and use the scientific method to eliminate variables as much as possible. The tablets will be used in this exercise is to document the steps in the experiment using pictures and through collaboration in Google Docs.
What We Learned at Plymouth/Shiloh Schools
It was great to have the opportunity to see firsthand how Plymouth/Shiloh High School students can use their Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Education tablets, Google Play for Education Licenses, and Samsung Cloud Printer. It was also an inspiring experience to be able to meet such creative teachers. Whereas some might see a tablet as a modern replacement for a text book, educators like Ms. Whitcomb and Mrs. Grube, with the encouragement of their district, are moving past that idea and embracing whatever a device can do. Whether it is collaboration through Google Apps, recording a video of an experiment, or administering quizzes and teacher-vetted apps in Google Play for Education, these teachers are willing to wring the most out of the technology they are given. Ultimately, isn’t that what great teachers do? Whether it is technology or students, don’t they take what they are given and find a way to bring out the best?
We would love to hear how your school implements technology in the classroom! Please let us know in the comments how your school is currently using technology or how you would like to use it in the future.
If you would like to discuss how to implement different technology like tablets, Chrome devices, or Google Play for Education at your school, click the button below to talk to a Promevo Account Manager.
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