A generation ago, a tablet for school might refer to a Big Chief tablet of wide-lined writing paper. Today, the word “tablet” can refer to is a wireless, portable personal computer with a touchscreen.
Teaching tools once common in classrooms, such as mimeograph machines, film projectors and printed volumes of “World Book” or other encyclopedias, have given way to tools of the digital age.
When Great Bend USD 428 administrators announced the 1 to 1 Chromebook Initiative — where all students would be assigned computers — the technology coaches at each school had a year to prepare their fellow teachers for the rollout.
Great Bend Middle School technology coach Darcy Leech said it was a year well spent. Her first task was to improve the technology literacy of the teachers, who became more comfortable with new technology the same way students do — by using it.
Leech created digital badges that teachers could earn for mastering different tasks. Like gold stars or certificates awarded to students, these badges marked the teachers’ progress and motivated them to learn how to use online applications such as Plickers and Kahoot!
Now teachers are incorporating technology into their daily instruction.
“The coolest thing about Chromebooks is they’re not getting in the way,” Leech said. “Because we had that year to prepare for the Chromebook initiative, our teachers are going great with it. It just feels like another tool in their bag. It’s part of solid instruction that we already had in our building. My job may be a little easier than I expected because our teachers are so prepared and so willing to learn, and they’re delivering great content in the classroom through Chromebooks.”