I think it is safe to say Rivercrest School District has “gone Google”. Our staff and students have embraced Google as a platform. Our district has enabled us to put a device in the hands of every 4th-12th grade student. We are definitely connected and equipped. And it’s no secret that most of our students love technology. It’s no secret that I love technology. It opens up a world of opportunities.
When I was in high school, Mrs. Key’s research projects meant having to make several trips to the library, search through dated encyclopedias and magazines, and write information on those little index cards. Now, current information is at my fingertips anywhere, anytime. And let’s not talk about that torturous bibliography page. Do you know how many times I retyped those because my comma or period was in the wrong place. Where was easybib or bibme when I needed them?
I learned to type on an electric typewriter with correction tape as my only way to hide any slip up I made from the well trained eyes of Mrs. Byford. The thought back then of being able to use something like Google Docs to write, edit, and share my work would have been mind blowing.
I remember the day I received my Old Man and the Sea reflection paper back from a state-wide competition with an honorable mention award attached to it. Counting Mrs. Key who assigned it, Mrs. Byford and Mrs. Pounders who critiqued it for spelling and grammar errors, my mom who read it because of its obvious journalistic qualities (ok...out of parental duty), and the five judges who read it, a total of nine people read that essay. The idea that some day something I wrote could be instantly shared with anyone in the world through a simple tweet or post just wasn’t in the realm of my imagination.
We thought it was great when the teacher rolled that big, ugly cart with the TV into the room so we could watch an educational video or even an occasional movie...finally a break from worksheets, chalkboard notes, and lectures. Today, our students create their own movies with phones and computers and edit them with far better special effects than the first Star Wars movie I watched. We stream movies and video clips to our devices without even thinking about it...and get frustrated when it stalls or buffers.
To think I could learn anything I wanted by watching a simple YouTube video or taking a MOOC (massive open online course) makes me wonder how different things might have been. Would I have taken advantage of those things or gotten caught up in social media, crazy cat videos, and Candy Crush.
In my lifetime, technology has definitely been a game changer. But technology in education is not a silver bullet It cannot be an add-on, baby sitter, or gimmick and say that it is “engaging students”. It is simply a tool - granted, a very powerful one but not necessarily the right tool for every task. Choose the right tool for the job. If we keep our focus on sound pedagogy and learning, the impact technology can have in our district is endless.
Google Fun Facts:
Users in our domain have created
Other interesting statistics:
And just who are our top users?
Dana Lane is a Technology Coordinator, and Kristy Graham is an Instructional Technology Specialist - both at Rivercrest School District. They are passionate about technology and learning and enjoy sharing this passion with teachers and students.