Last, but not least, I made it out to Belleville to visit Hastings and Prince Edward DSB. What fun I had with Wendy and Heather visiting two schools that are involved with their Learning Connections Project. The district has been heavily invested in leveraging Google Apps for Education to improve student achievement and engagement. They are also part of the global New Pedagogies for Deep Learning (NPDL) project and have combined their LC work to support this initiative. One focus of their project involves the exploration of Google’s Read & Write application to determine its impact on student writing. This also aligns with a pilot in their board regarding the use of Read & Write to support students for EQAO.
The first classroom we visited is part of the NPDL project and they are focussing on the learning dimension “leveraging digital” along with the focus on “collaboration” from the 6 C’s. Through Learning Connections, this classroom was able to purchase Chromebooks to support their deeper learning. The activity they were working on involved reading a story and determining the main idea. The teacher used Google Classroom to share electronic versions of the stories and for students to submit their work. It was interesting to see how the students embraced the ability to choose the way they wanted to read the stories: some read on the computer, some used Read & Write to listen to the story and some printed the story to read. This truly levels the playing field for all students in the classroom!
- Great to have the Chromebooks available for students at any time and not having to schedule computer time
- Students have learned to work collaboratively since only a few Chromebooks in the class
- Using Read & Write has helped all students and doesn’t stigmatize those who need the technology to support them
- Read & Write is much easier to use for students than Dragon and it is accessible for all
Thanks for a great day! My drive back from the school in Prince Edward County lead me on a beautiful route next to Lake Ontario. Although Wendy warned me to stay right at the Macs, I forgot as soon as I got there and went to the left. Never warn someone which way they should not go 😉 Turned out to be an awesome drive with some beautiful views.