If Chromebooks were granted in the after school program, I would see a drastic improvement in the student’s level of engagement. I think they would be excited to do their homework so they would then be able to transfer the information they learned in school to be presented in a new way. Students would want to get on the computer to play typing or grammar games, science or social studies games, reading virtual books, etc. In addition, Chromebooks allow for ample opportunities to collaborate. Students can create Google accounts and work on assignments together. Older students can help tutor younger students and share visuals with them. The measurement on how it’s working would be based on the level of engagement the students have when coming to the after school program.
As stated before, due to the various grade levels and learning abilities within the after school program, there couldn’t be formal assessments. Students could be assessed individually based on the work they produce. From beginning to end of the school year, their creativity will have also expanded. Students, volunteers and parents will be able to see how their child’s curiosity has grown and their ability to manipulate tools to be used to express their understandings in different ways.
Activities and mini lessons are planned based on students needs; this may be content based or value based. If Chromebooks were integrated, some students would be using online tools to improve skills to achieve grade level standards. Other students would be using them for enrichment opportunities to be shared with the after school program or their classroom and teacher.
Communication would be key in understanding in the implementation of Chromebooks is successful. Program volunteers must communicate with classroom teachers to see if those students are improving their skills in any subject areas. Periodic interviews with students, parents and volunteers would be used to evaluate the success of the technology integration. Gaining feedback from outsiders is imperative in making improvements for the future.
Along with content learning, students would also be gaining values such as responsibility. Even though Chromebooks are relatively cheap and practically indestructible, students would be learning how to be responsible. Students would go through an etiquette training to ensure they are ‘ready’ to use the technology. Later, this responsibility can be transferred into other areas in their lives. Hopefully, the students would see how important it is to take care of others’ belongings just as they would take care of their own. This would all be assessed on the way students behave around other tools provided to them regardless of how high tech or low tech.
Overall, Project Healthy Community’s after school lead and volunteers would be able to know if this transformative technology integration is successful if the students feel successful. A kid doesn’t have to be a genius to beat a game or to create a video using a website. They can use the Chromebook to create something they didn’t have the means to before. Their creativity is the most powerful assessment.