Sunday, August 16, 2015

Dreams Come True

Chromebooks are here! Unpacked! Connected! And...last Monday...we turned them on for the first time. At first, kids couldn't get into their accounts. I held my breath...pleading/praying that I could troubleshoot and get them working. My whole day was planned around using the Chromebooks. Kids were really excited. I didn't want to disappoint them. With a few little clicks, everything worked! All my kids were able to use "their" Chromebooks. Actually, the kids are calling them "Chromebabies" because we talked about the special care that they'd need. Some "Chromebabies" have names.

I've waited nearly five years to have this dream come true! I never imagined that it'd be Chromebooks, but I'm tickled pink to be 1:1. Once again, I owe my PLN. It was through my PLN that I found out about the grant (that paid for the Chromebooks) only days before the deadline last year. 

Last week, a lot of our time was spent getting into the various accounts. Honestly, it was a little painful. I'd set up the accounts, but if the students didn't type the information correctly, they couldn't get in and I had to walk around and help them. I used my tech savvy students as much as possible. I had to keep my patience (or lack of it) in check. I knew that there would be a big learning curve. Patience. I was expecting my kiddos to learn a lot in a short amount of time. They loved using the Edmodo apps. Zondle was a favorite. We also started using Google Classroom, TypingAgent, Wizenworld, Quill, and NoRedInk. I'm also teaching the kids how to watch/interact with a video for flipped instruction. It's a lot to learn and I definitely don't want the kids in front of a screen all day. We did enjoy a great game of Kahoot! Kids are very excited to learn more and parents have sent me some very positive emails.

I think the kids had the most fun when I gave them the boxes and introduced the cardboard challenge. Wow! These kids were so creative! They had a blast! A parent helping me was completely delighted to see her twins so engaged in the creative process and the collaboration that these kids exhibited. It was a little messy. It was a little "chaotic" to an outsider maybe walking into the room. But, it wouldn't take long to see the great learning happening!

Now the hard part comes. I'm figuring it out as I go. For some reason, my dreams never revealed the speed bumps along this journey. I want to have the learning personalized as much as possible. I don't want to get caught up in the semantics of buzz words. But, I do want to use the technology to meet the individual needs of my learners. That's a challenge! I'm still trying to figure out their skill levels, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. I have no budget for programs. But, I do have my Chromebooks!

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