Technology at Wellington took a significant leap forward in August 2018 with the launch of the Primary 7 Chromebook initiative. Pupils can now learn in the classroom and ‘in the cloud’ as each of them and their form teachers have their own Chromebook. This project is part of a whole school IT strategy which involves incorporating Google Apps for Education, especially Google Classroom, across all subject departments and year groups, providing a virtual learning environment.
The Chromebook is a learning tool like no other; lightweight to carry, it stores pupils’ work and teachers’ lessons in the cloud. Users enjoy instant access to documents, applications and internet browsing (limited only to relevant areas). What is more, pupils take the devices home for homework exercises too.
‘I like Chromebooks because they are good for sharing documents when you are in groups and I love Google Classroom – your homework is always there!’
Mr O’Connell, Head of Computing and Google certified Educator, is the enthusiastic leader of this initiative, saying ‘the Chromebook marks a significant change from traditional paper-based working. There are myriad benefits of these devices. Word-processing and presentation tasks can be worked on collaboratively both within and out with the classroom and Google Classroom provides paperless communication between teacher and learner. Using Classroom, homework assignments can be issued by teachers, completed by students and then returned and marked all within the Google Apps for Education framework.’ While Mr O’Connell delivers the P7 Computing course entirely on the Chromebook and P7 teachers incorporate them into every day lessons, a wide number of subjects such as History, Geography and French are also utilising their advantages.
‘I think the Chromebooks are making everyone more productive. It helps when you don’t know the spelling of a word. You don’t need to ask the teacher, you simply look it up!’
Head of Primary 7, Lynn Clachan says ‘Chromebooks are making everything easier, enabling us to develop a 21st Century curriculum with technology that supports teaching and learning. The main advantages of Chromebook versus more traditional learning tools are that everything is saved onto each pupil’s Google Drive so that data is never lost and that our pupils have instant access to resources that enhance any lesson. Primary 7 can be a challenging time for children; they are embarking on a new and daunting phase of school life in the Senior School. With the Chromebook, I feel that my class are well supported at this transitional stage because they receive notifications of upcoming events and homework reminders.’
‘I think the Chromebook is really good because you can catch up with your classwork if you are off ill and fall behind.’
Pupils have signed an agreement stating their intention to take responsibility for their laptops, including charging them every evening and transporting them with care. I believe the Chromebook initiative allows pupils to become independent learners. It is an exciting project and pupils have embraced the opportunity to become technologically literate. Under the careful guidance of Mr O’Connell, P7 teachers and pupils are learning together and exploring the ways in which this technology can enhance traditional teaching and learning methods. The initiative, still in its early stages, has already surpassed the benefits we expected to see.
‘I like Chromebooks because it helps you research information, rather than asking the teacher. I also like that there’s Google Classroom so you can see what you have for homework and write to the teacher if we are stuck on a question. Thank you so much for letting us have Chromebooks!’