“Google it.” For many, this statement has become a standard in daily vocabulary. Whether in search of a restaurant that serves peanut butter pie, a random factoid such as what years “The Cosby Show” ran on TV, or directions to Tropicana Field, the words “Google it”, represent the act of using internet technology to find the answer. These words have taken, “look it up” to the next level…to a world where the information, a vast amount of information, is at our fingertips anywhere we are and at any time of the day.
Our Savior Lutheran Church and School began using Google Chromebooks in its fourth grade classroom at the beginning of the school year. A Google Chromebook is a mobile device that runs on the Chrome operating system (similar to the Chrome web browser) and uses applications to perform computer operations such as word processing, presentations, and charts and graphs. Parent support and response toward the program called, “1:1 Initiative” has been extremely positive. This week, Mrs. Adams’ 5th grade class also began using the technology.
“The kids are ready to jump right in. They are picking it up very quickly, probably more quickly that I am!” Mrs. Adams explains. “The advantage of introducing this at a young age is that kids are such sponges and ready to work with the technology, while an adult’s learning curve is often more resistant because we learned how to do things through more cumbersome methods.” Mrs. Adams continues, “I think it is wonderful that we are able to expose our children to this and they are able to work with it hands on.”
Technology and the information and power that accompanies it, are here to stay. Learning to navigate this technology is key to utilizing it productively and responsibly. The class is keenly aware of the necessity for Internet safety. While working on their projects, they are diligent about asking Mrs. Adams if it is okay to navigate to various sites.
This week, Mrs. Adams’ class is working on a basic research project to introduce search engine skills. The students each picked a historical person or place and are tasked with researching it. Not only does this project teach them the fundamentals of doing research, but also prepares them for the types of things they will be doing later in Mrs. Linder’s 6th grade class.
The devices do not replace hands on, traditional learning, but instead enhances the lessons and reinforces the skills. The students are very engaged with their Chromebooks on their desks alongside their notebooks and pencils for note taking. Excitement in the classroom over this new tool is evident. The class is using the Chromebooks for English skills and history skills, but eventually will use them during math as a way to reinforce the technology.
The Chrombooks enrich the learning experience and provide the path to a wealth of information. In class, one student picked the Eiffel Tower for his project, while another picked the Gateway Arch. As the students wondered what the cost was to build these landmarks, Mrs. Adams challenged them to think not only about the costs to build the landmarks at the time, but to relate the costs to today and compare the two structures. How would one find that information? Mrs. Adams says, “ Let’s Google it!”