This is the experience shared by Giovanna B., from Istituto Comprensivo Valdagno 2 in Valdagno, one of the Acer Innovative Schools in Italy.
My name is Giovanna, and I am a teacher at Istituto Comprensivo Valdagno 2 in Italy.
As a school we participated to a project, sponsored by Acer Italy, that aims to spread the use of Chromebooks in Italian schools from the beginning of Primary School. Thanks to this project, on April 14th my class received 21 Chromebooks from Acer to experiment their use in 1st class, with students aged 6-7.
These Chromebooks were personally distributed by Mr Riccardo Tavola from Acer Italy, which was disguised as a collaborator of “Santa Claus”: it was unbelievable for my students!
Until that moment the class only used the interactive SMART board at a class level, then with the arrival of Chromebooks, things have changed very rapidly.
How to take advantage of Chromebooks and G Suite to enhance engagement in the classroom
Our first step was the creation of our nicknames, so I could prepare the G Suite accounts for the students, becoming the “Monster Class”. All of them drew their own monster and invented their name: Orange, Greeny, Fire, etc. Then every student learned how to log into in his own account and became a member of the “Monster Class” in Google Classroom.
During April and May, the “little monsters” started to use their Chromebooks as new tools to participate to daily activities in class. Those activities were focused especially on reading and writing, since they are the main goals for Italian language during the first year of Primary school.
Opening Google Classroom, the students could find the activity they had to complete in pairs, in small group or individually. I limited the tasks on the use of Google Documents and Google Form. The students have already understood how to share a doc with peers or teachers, using the toolbar and the main rules in typing. Google Forms were used to test them in reading and comprehension: the text was on paper, the questions in digital form.
The great advantage of this solution is the fact that I can correct their forms right in front of them, giving an immediate feedback on their work.
Learning by gaming, in a safe and secure way
Chromebooks were also used to “play” and enjoy. I created a number of LAB activities, using SMART Notebook software, to teach through game-based learning methodology. They were engaged in their learning through games related to the content of the week, mainly Italian writing. It was a success because they asked to play with them in their free time.
As we went on using our devices, we also learned the important rules to get the most from them without any risk. It means I taught them “Digital Citizenship”, the basic rules to protect ourselves and respect the others while using the net.
Rather than telling them what to do, I approached the contents, both Italian and Digital Citizenship, asking them to solve a problem, find or invent something together. I didn’t want to be the expert in the use of the device, I privileged the peer collaboration or the personal discovery that can be shared with the community.
We are at the beginning of this project, but till now it has been really helpful because it has changed the way of learning for the students and the role of the teacher: from the person who knows to the person who helps and shares.