Taking technology to a new level, Pecatonica Middle School students are learning in a less conventional way. Teachers say the new Google Chrome Books are allowing them to reach new heights.
Walking through the halls of Pecatonica Middle School, you wouldn't know there was anything different. Take a closer look inside the classroom though and you see something new on the desks, Google Chrome Books.
Every student has one, 270 laptops to be exact.
"We're not looking at the Chrome Books as a replacing textbooks," Principal Tim King says. "We're looking at it as a supplement, and as I asked one of the students at lunch the other day, I said, 'How's everybody doing with their Chrome Books?' and one kid said, 'It's making me smarter!'"
The students aren't the only ones excited about it. Chris Dertz is a 6th and 7th grade social studies teacher. He says the Chrome Books allow him to broaden his lesson plans and take group projects to the next level.
"The Google Classroom has an option on it where you can allow students to view each others responses, so if we're doing a warm up activity or some kind of document based activity, if they're having some trouble they can see what their fellow students are doing and they can get some help that way," Dertz says.
Not only are they bouncing ideas off of each other, but they're having fun while learning. Last week a student asked when John Smith died, and Mr. Dertz said the answer was in their hands.
"Then there was a race among all of the students to find out when he died and what he died of, so yeah I think that's really the neat part about it," he says. "The teacher doesn't have to be like the subject matter expert anymore. We don't have to be this font of wisdom anymore. Now, the students have access to information right at their fingertips, and maybe what the teacher's job is to guide them in the direction to find those answers."
Pecatonica administrators budgeted for the Google Chrome Books in a three to five year plan. The next step is to have all students in the district using a Chrome Book.