Our 7-12 grade science teachers had a full day of new material. Their morning was spent at our High School Library getting a refresher Google Training from AEA 267's Kay Schmalen and "experimenting" with the soon to be used Chromebooks themselves. This was the first time that so many of the devices would be pulled out from their carts and used besides enrolling the devices several weeks before. Nothing could go wrong, and everything would go perfect, right? Generally speaking it went great. Besides some of those hard to understand or try to explain situations things worked well. Teachers got some great practice with the Chrome browser, sharing files, creating Google + profiles, having hangouts, and just getting familiar with the Chromebooks and how they worked. The science teachers' day was topped off with an afternoon of learning about Learning.com. They had an opportunity to see how the site worked, begin creating class rosters, and explore the resources the site had to offer.
3rd and 4th grade teachers had quite the experience as well in the afternoon. This was the first day this year most of the group got to be together at once. It was also their first training using Google Apps for Education. They enjoyed themselves and the Hangout section of the training was definitely a hit. Soon, email notifications were blowing up everyone's inbox as circles were being formed and PLNs were being established.
In the end, we were able to create a nice list of questions to follow up with and share back out to teachers. It was great to get their insight, to see how things worked, and to hear them discuss how they may handle instruction later this year.
As the day was over and it was time to digest I had to remind myself something. It is so easy to get stuck on the vision of our classrooms full of students using technology, having a high interest level, collaborating, completing lessons where they are problem solving, using higher order thinking skills, publishing their work, and pushing their limits. While I am sure I will see that vision, and thinking about it is exciting, I need to remember that getting there is a process. We'll get there, but we need to take one step at a time. There will be challenges and problems along the way. We need to keep our mind open. Instead of roadblocks they may just be changes in thinking or how we handle business.
For now, we can keep exploring resources. What units or activities can I modify to bring in technology and challenge students?
What learning do I as a teachers still need? For some, its experience with the Chrome browser and becoming familiar with how it works. Here's some resources.
60 Chrome Apps and Extensions
Top 12 Google Chrome Extensions That Enhance Student Learning
Google Chrome Blog