For the most part things have been going pretty smoothly using ChromeBooks and BrainHoney with my English 8 classes. Our Instructional Technology Coordinator, Crystal, and I did have a few obstacles we needed to overcome.
The first obstacle was something that I should have thought about beforehand, but completely overlooked. I needed to find a way to deal with students handing in/sharing their completed assignments. I did not consider how quickly my inbox would fill with shared file notifications nor did I consider how quickly my Google Drive would become inundated with hundreds of shared files, many of which did not have very descriptive or accurate filenames.
The first action I took was to require my students to begin each filename with their first initial and last name. This made things slightly easier, but still did not really solve either of the major issues. After discussing the problem with Crystal, we came up with the idea for each student to have a shared folder. Within the shared folder would be two more folders, one named “Completed” and the other name “In Progress.”
After a day I decided that each student only needed a single folder. I had them each title their folder with their class period, last and then first name. For example if I had English 5th period my folder would be named “5 Hoover, Adam.” Naming the folders this way made it easy for me sort each class period on my Google Drive.
The next minor obstacle was dealing with the student folders becoming full, now that we are well into our curriculum. This was another simple fix, I created a “Graded” folder in each of the student folders and as I grade assignments I move them into the “Graded” folder.
As you can see using technology in the classroom is an ever-evolving process. I joke with my first period class that they are my “guinea pigs” since I try, and sometimes fail, every new thing with them first. If you, as a teacher, aren’t able or willing to make mistakes and problem solve as you go, then you probably shouldn’t be using technology in the classroom. However, I believe that a big part of being a teacher is lifelong learning and adapting, something that using technology almost forces you to do.
- We (and I use the “royal we” here since I was a spectator in the process) numerically labeled each ChromeBook to ensure students are using the same one each day. This will make it easier to track if something were to go wrong.
- Frequently used Google keyboard shortcuts will be added as stickers on each of the ChromeBooks. This will save my students time and also save me from having to answer “Control C and then Control V” every time a student needs to copy and paste something.
- I am in the process of creating and ordering full color posters to display important ChromeBook/BrainHoney related information in my classroom.