By Matt de Simone
Students from James River High School and Lord Botetourt High School made a presentation to the Botetourt County School Board last Thursday regarding the extensive use of Chromebooks in the classroom.
Over the past few years, Botetourt County Public Schools dispersed these devices to teachers who have used laptop computers to help provide a better learning experience for their students and fellow teachers.
Jordan Pinkard, a math teacher at James River, brought three students who created their own presentation to show members of the School Board. “When Mr. Talbott (James River principal) asked me to come and do a presentation on how we use Chromebooks, I wanted to do something that would be representative,” Pinkard explained. “I challenged three gentlemen with what the goal was in creating something student-driven to show you.”
James River students Owen Marshall, Zane Weidman and Noah Aylor showed a video they made— using a Chromebook— featuring interviews with classmates and teachers talking about how the Chromebooks help their learning experiences.
The James River students and faculty expressed their appreciation for the device’s ability to allow them to run simulations and labs from anywhere connected to the internet. The computer also alleviates any excuses. A dog could eat a Chromebook, but would it? Highly unlikely.
Fortunately, the Chromebooks keep their users closely connected to their work so that assignments aren’t swept under the proverbial rug. Teachers can track students’ progress giving them an idea on the areas of focus. Teachers and students can work together individually.
“Chromebooks allow our students to access information instantaneously,” Pinkard said in the video presentation. “We’re then able to review that data with students and that’s been a massive upgrade.”
Kate Givens, a teacher at Lord Botetourt, brought two of her students to help explain why they enjoy using their Chromebooks on a daily basis. Givens presented photos of her class using their Chromebooks during daily assessments.
“Chromebooks have become a quintessential tool for my instruction,” Givens told the board. “I use Chromebooks to write papers, have student take assessments, complete reflections, discussions, and much more.”
One of the main points made from both schools was the Chromebook’s organization and communication benefits. The teachers are clear in their mission to prepare students for what they need to expect after they graduate high school.
Givens presented a recent assignment her students completed using their Chromebooks. The School Board and community members in attendance got a chance to see the project firsthand. Infographics are a new trend that are seen by many people daily. An infographic is a group of images, charts, and text that gives an easy-to-understand overview of the subject. Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit are excellent places to find infographics of all shapes and sizes. Halloween season approaches. Want a succinct infographic chronicling the timeline of the scariest movies of all time and their impact on pop culture? There’s certainly more than one of these.
Givens challenged her students to use their Chromebooks to find a published infographic and provide analysis. Then the students picked a relevant topic to research such as school bullying and teen stress. Through their research the Chromebooks helped the students gather enough information to produce their own infographics which were presented to the School Board.
“This is just one project and I am just one teacher,” Givens stated, “At Lord Botetourt, a vast majority of our teachers have integrated Chromebooks into their instruction. I think they are an important tool, enhancing our students’ education.”