Terms such as "Genius Hour," "Sumbog," "Hour of Code," and "Ten Marks," are now a way of life for students in Pam Wolf's fourth/fifth grade class at Wilson School.
Thanks to parent Joe Busch and the people who supported the purchase of Chromebooks for this classroom, Google Chromebooks are available to every student in this classroom.
In just two weeks time, Busch was able to raise $13,000 through the generosity of his family, other parents and grandparents after appearing before the school board to tell them his wish.
Donors were invited to a special reception last Friday where each student served either as a tour guide or showed the many benefits of the Chromebooks to those attending. Tour guides led the donors to each station explaining what the different terms stood for as the students showed the work they were able to perform. Each child knows the system well and had no problem explaining the many benefits and what they have learned so far.
As explained by Wilson School Principal Tracey Allen at the December 10 school board meeting, "Computers on Wheels," acronym is "COWS," and it is the desire of the school to have a "COW" cart in each classroom. This cart holds all of the computers and Pam Wolf's class is the only one with their own so far.
Busch hopes to continue to raise enough money so that each classroom at Wilson can have their own "COW" in each class so that they don't have to be shared between classrooms.
Small personal computers sit at each child's desk running Chrome as the operating system. Chrome connects quickly to the internet and supports apps that are on the web, not the ones downloaded to the device.
Students can learn to Publish with a variety of websites for Digital Storytelling allowing the students to show what they know in a creative, digital format. This allows for sharing of projects with a wider audience. The website "Prezi," is used for book reviews/reports, research reports and story telling. "Animoto," is used for field trip picture and classroom events. "Voicethread," is used by students for small research projects, author studies, poetry share and biography poems. "Blabberize," is used for research projects and "Globster," is used for book posters, character posters and Who Am I Posters.
The beauty of Chromebooks means that the students can access their work anytime and anywhere. Students can work in Google Docs, Google Maps, Picasa, Google Earth and Moodle through the cloud which means they can work on their personal narratives, fiction stories, paragraph writing, Internet Safety Precautions, Social Studies Standards, State Studies Projects, Minnesota History mapping of important places, field trips, book setting trips, geography tours, Literature strips and online courses for social studies, science and reading - either at school or at home.
Students are able to communicate with other students around the United States through Moodle for group discussions, video conferencing for State studies research, geography mystery quest video conference and Learning outside the classroom walls. Students can share their classroom projects and assignments with other schools through "Calendar."
Chromebooks allows the students to collaborate face-to-face or on the computer while working on projects through Collaboration. Collaboration is supported through Google Docs, Google Sites, GMail, Moodle and Edmodo apps.
"Ten Marks," is an accelerated math program that awards a game on screen if all ten answers are given correctly. "Kahoot," is a game where questions have to be answered as quickly as possible to be rated on a quiz on a projection screen. Students can look up at the screen to see how other students are progressing in their scores. Students have learned to make their own circuits through "Circuit Maker," by connecting circuits and turning them on with a switch on the screen.
"Discovery Kids," is a popular one where students can learn about marine life, solar systems and animal life where they can learn what animals live on.
Gracie Gonzalez wrote an ABC book for her Mom Julie's kindergarten class at McKinley through "Story Bird." Gracie's book tells what each letter stands for with an actual soft cover book that her teacher was able to print out.
"National Geographic", is another great area where students can do a quiz after watching a video on blue marlins or hammerhead sharks for example.
Wolf told the donors that the addition of the Google Chromebooks has completely revolutionized the classroom as she thanked them for their generosity.
"It is remarkable how one little classroom can reach so many other students with "COWS," across the United States, through "Genius Hour," National Geographic and twitter accounts and share what we are working on," Wolf stated.
Allen told how she is able to "tweet" from the classrooms as the children do their work and get feedback from across the United States.
"The students using National Geographic and National Geographic Education can follow our students and re-tweet it on their pages," she explained.
According to Wolf, every aspect of curriculum is covered through Chromebooks but they aren't on them all day. The students still use paper and pencils.